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Arthur Ehrat Papers

Creator:
Ehrat, Arthur  Search this
Fleckner, John A., 1941-  Search this
Extent:
10 Cubic feet (26 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Videotapes
Audiovisual materials
Interviews
Oral history
Legal records
Patents
Date:
2011
1865-2005
bulk 1970-1990
Summary:
Arthur Ehrat invented and patented a breakaway basketball rim, fashioning his prototypes from bolts, metal braces and one key part: a piece of the heavy-duty coil spring on a John Deere cultivator. His invention helped to revolutionize the way basketball is played because players could slam dunk the ball with fewer injuries and without bending the rims or breaking backboards. This collection includes correspondence, legal documents --such as patent papers, litigation files and licensing agreements --photographs and sketches that relate to the basketball invention, as well as materials regarding his two field spreader patents and other invention ideas.
Scope and Contents:
The collection is divided into five series and consists of approximately seven cubic feet.

This collection includes correspondence and legal documents--such as patent papers, litigation files and licensing agreements--that relate to Arthur Ehrat's basketball goal, as well as materials regarding his field spreader patents and other invention ideas. The bulk of the collection is made up of attorney correspondence, patent infringement documents, and patent licensing documents. The collection also contains handwritten notes by Arthur Ehrat and his attorneys, sketches of his inventions, an oral history interview, and photographs.

Attorney McPherson Moore sent many of the legal documents and correspondence to Ehrat. These documents were assembled by the law firms for which Moore worked. The original order has been preserved.

The correspondence consists of letters from attorney McPherson Moore to Ehrat and from Moore or his associates to other attorneys regarding litigation, pending licensing agreements, and other actions. The correspondence contains handwritten notes, promotional materials for sporting goods companies, drafts of legal documents, copies of patents and other enclosures. The majority of the correspondence is copies.

Correspondence found throughout the collection is key to understanding the legal documents because it provides insight into the legal negotiations behind the settlement and licensing process, and the diligence necessary to protect a viable patent from infringement. Correspondence should be read in conjunction with litigation and licensing documents to gain a better sense of the negotiations between attorneys and how and why the legal documents were created.

Throughout this collection, reference is made to legal terms, including pleadings, production documents, discovery, patent infringement, file histories, and Bates numbers. Series 3, Civil Action and Settlement Records has numerous sets of pleadings, which are the legal documents filed in a lawsuit. These documents encompass complaints, petitions, answers, motions, declarations, and memoranda.

The discovery process is the effort of one party to a lawsuit to get information from the other party prior to a trial. This is done through depositions, requests for or production of documents, and interrogatories (written questions to the other party).6

Bates numbers --named after the Bates Automatic Numbering Machine patented in the late 1800s --are used to identify documents with a unique number. The parties to a lawsuit use these numbers to keep papers in order when they are sent to the other party during discovery. This collection contains sets of production documents stamped with Bates numbers. (See Series 3, Subseries 8: Ehrat v. Icon, Proform and K's Merchandise, 1984-1996)7

Patent infringement is "the manufacture and/or use of an invention or improvement for which someone else owns a patent issued by the government, without obtaining permission of the owner of the patent by contract, license or waiver."8

A patent file history (also called a file wrapper) is a folder maintained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It contains all of the correspondence and documents from a patent application.9 See Series 2, Subseries 2 for the file history of Ehrat's United States Patent No. 4,365,802.

Series 1: Background Materials, 1968-2005, 2011

This series, which is further divided into three subseries, comprises oral history interviews, early sketches of Ehrat's basketball goal, articles about slam dunking, Ehrat's breakaway rim, correspondence and notes, income and expense records (including legal expenses), photographs and facsimiles of photographs, and invoices from the components Ehrat purchased when he created prototypes. One receipt documents the heater Bob Copelin purchased for his new shed in 1975, around the time Ehrat began inventing. This was significant when Ehrat was trying to prove to the United States Patent Office that he had his idea before Frederick Tyner.

Subseries 1: Ehrat History, 1968-2005

Correspondence in this subseries includes a handwritten list of possible names for the basketball rim, one which Ehrat titled, "The Rebounder Has Been Tested." The correspondence also contains copies of letters sent to the United States Patent Office intended to prove that Ehrat's rim was unique; a letter from National Basketball Association saying that, after testing, it is going to use Kenneth Mahoney's (Toss Back) rim instead of Ehrat's; letters from basketball halls of fame; and copies of e-mail from the Smithsonian. This subseries has an original sketch of Ehrat's basketball goal with annotations. Also included is a 1 D2" VHS tape of Ehrat explaining the components he used to fashion his first breakaway rim prototypes and a news segment in which Ehrat was interviewed about his invention at the Chicago Board of Trade. The audio and video recordings contain some repetition of information.

Subseries 2: Photographs and Clippings, 1973-2005

Color photocopies of photographs depicting early rims; a birthday gathering for Ehrat's father, William Ehrat, circa 1974-1975 (used to help prove that he was working on the rim before Frederick Tyner); Ehrat giving a rim to Virden High School; Ehrat with sportscaster Dick Vitale; and a studio shot of his daughters, Rose, Jo, Sharon, Jane, and Linda.

Three photographs in this subseries show prototype rims with coil springs. Ehrat holds up one of these photographs in the video history, but he does not discuss the photographs' origin. There are no markings of any kind on the photographs.

Subseries 2 also contains field photographs taken by John Fleckner, National Museum of American History staff, in May 2005. Field photographs include: the grain elevator Ehrat managed; rim prototypes; and a donated rim hanging on the gym wall at Virden High School.

Articles in this subseries are from the Virden Recorder, The State Journal-Register, Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and Kentucky Living. The topics covered include collapsible rims and breakaway rims; Ehrat and his invention; and the Smithsonian Institution's interest in the breakaway rim. Also included is a clipping from Farmers Elevator Co.'s meeting minutes from December 15, 1973, in which the board voted to relinquish rights to any patent or product created by Ehrat.

Subseries 3: Oral History Interview, 2005

A May, 2005, interview of Ehrat by John Fleckner at Ehrat's home in Virden, IL. Ehrat discusses his background, attorney Ralph Staubly, basketball rims he built, and a slam dunk contest that his nephew Randy Albrecht helped organize in the early 1980s at St. Louis Community College. Subseries 3 also contains Digital video disks (DVD) in which Ehrat discusses the documents he sent to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History. There is some repetition of topics discussed in the audio and video recordings.

Series 2: Patent Records for Basketball Rim, 1865-1984 (bulk 1970s-1984)

This series, divided into four subseries, contains copies of patents used as research or as prior art for Ehrat's patent application, a file history of the patent, correspondence/notes from Ehrat and his attorneys, and legal papers sent from Ehrat's first attorney, Ralph Staubly, to McPherson Moore.

Subseries 1: Ehrat and Dittrich Patents, 1979-1984

Copies of Ehrat's United States Patent No. 4,365,802, deformation-preventing swingable mount for basketball goals and William Dittrich's two patents, United States Patent No. 4,151,989, basketball practice device and United States Patent No. 4,465,277, basketball goal structure.

Subseries 2: Research and File History, 1865-1984

The complete patent file history consists of a list of actions taken (rejections, appeals, civil action filed) on the patent application for United States Patent No. 4,365,802. Pages 19-23 are copies of letters sent to United States Patent Office to establish the rim's unique qualities after the examiner's interference search found Frederick Tyner's patent (United States Patent No. 4,111, 420, Energy-absorbing basketball goal/backboard unit) and ruled Ehrat's invention was too similar.

Subseries 3: Correspondence and Notes, 1976-1984

Two sets of letters from acquaintances. The first set, 1977-1978, was sent to the United States Patent Office and provide a sense of the invention's unique quality. The second set, 1983-1984, consists of letters written by Ehrat's friends and was used in Basketball Products International and Ehrat v. Mt. Vernon School District and Porter (Series 3, Subseries 1) to establish that Ehrat had his breakaway rim idea before Frederick Tyner. A letter in the correspondence folder for this litigation, dated February 23, 1984, mentions that copies of these letters were sent to Basketball Products International. Also in this subseries is a transcript of a phone conversation between Ehrat and attorney McPherson Moore about when Ehrat had the idea for a breakaway rim and who knew about it.

Subseries 4: Files from Ehrat's First Attorney, Ralph Staubly, 1976-1982

Includes the file about Ehrat sent from Ralph Staubly to McPherson Moore when Ehrat changed legal representation in 1983. The folder contains originals, copies, and drafts of documents sent to the United States Patent Office, some with annotations. Also included is a high school basketball rulebook, 1977-1978, and the notes Ralph Staubly used to write an affidavit for Ehrat's patent application in which Ehrat swears he invented before Frederick Tyner.

Series 3: Civil Action and Settlement Records, 1984-1996

This series is divided into eight subseries. It contains full and partial sets of case pleadings, with pleadings indices, from eight court cases, attorney correspondence and notes, depositions of Ehrat and Frederick Tyner, case judgments, and signed settlements.

In 1984, Ehrat and Basketball Products International were plaintiffs or defendants together in five civil action lawsuits that involved sporting goods companies, including Porter Equipment Company, Gared Company, and Toss Back. These lawsuits and their correspondence should be consulted in conjunction with one another.

Subseries 1: Basketball Products International and Ehrat v. Mt. Vernon School District and Porter, 1984

Civil action, February 1984-June 1984: The complaint alleges patent infringement by sporting goods company Porter for manufacturing products embodying the invention, and infringement by Mt. Vernon School District (WA) for purchasing Porter basketball goals. Action dismissed June 11, 1984. This subseries contains the subpoena and deposition of Frederick Tyner regarding United States Patent No. 4,111, 420, Energy-absorbing basketball goal/backboard unit. It also contains plaintiff's exhibits, numbered 1-31, which include Tyner's notes, documents, and facsimiles of photographs related to his patented basketball goal.

Subseries 2: Porter Equipment Company v. Basketball Products International and Ehrat, 1984

Civil action, April 1984-June 1984: The complaint alleges that Ehrat's and Basketball Products International's patents are invalid and unenforceable and that Porter and Mt. Vernon School District did not infringe. Porter calls for dismissal or transfer of the case. The pleadings index for Vol. 1 has a note at the bottom that says "Start Vol. 2," but Vol. 2 is not in the collection.

Subseries 3: Gared Company v. Basketball Products International and Ehrat, 1984-1988

Civil action, March 1984-October 1984: This action is in response to letters sent by attorney McPherson Moore threatening a lawsuit if Gared Company does not cease manufacture of infringing goals. Gared Company files a complaint for declaratory judgment, calling the patent invalid and alleging unfair competition. A stipulated dismissal of complaint was signed by Moore and Ralph Kalish, Gared Company's legal counsel. Declaratory judgment is the judgment of a court which determines the rights of parties without ordering anything be done or awarding damages.

Of note in this subseries is the deposition of Ehrat regarding his involvement with Gared Company and the city of St. Louis, where the company is based. Gared Company's counsel, Ralph Kalish, asks Ehrat questions about his nephew, Randy Albrecht. Ehrat purchased 12 rims from Gared Company, on the advice of his nephew, for the purpose of building and testing his releasable basketball goals. Kalish tries to assess whether there was a profit motive and how Gared Company's goals factored into that.

Subseries 4: Basketball Products International and Ehrat v. Gared Company, 1984

Civil action, April 1984-June 1984: Complaint filed against Gared Company and Athletic Supply (which purchased Gared Company goals) for patent infringement. The case was dismissed.

Subseries 5: Basketball Products International and Ehrat v. Toss Back

Civil action, May 1984-June 1984: Complaint filed against Toss Back and the cities of Seattle and Tacoma (which purchased Toss Back basketball goals) for patent infringement. There is no evidence of a settlement or of court action. Toss Back signed a licensing agreement with Ehrat in 1985 (See Series 4, Licensing Agreements).

Subseries 6: Ehrat v. Gared Company and Nixdorff-Krein Industries, 1982-1990 (bulk 1987-1990)

Civil action, 1988-1990: Complaint filed against sports equipment company Gared and its parent company, Nixdorff-Krein Industries, for patent infringement. Request for passing case for settlement filed by Ehrat's attorney, McPherson Moore, and granted by the court. The signed settlement is in this subseries. This subseries has file histories of Gared Company patents. A file history (or file wrapper) is a folder kept at the United States Patent and Trademark Office that has all of the correspondence and documents from a patent application

Subseries 7: Ehrat v. Diversified Products, 1989-1994

Civil action, 1993: A complaint was filed against Diversified Products after a series of letters calling for the company to cease manufacture and sales of infringing basketball goals went unheeded. The parties were granted a consent judgment to settle out of court. The signed settlement is in this subseries.

Subseries 8: Ehrat v. Icon Health & Fitness Inc., Pro Form Fitness Products Inc., and K's Merchandise Mart, 1984-1996 (bulk 1994-1996)

The Icon Health & Fitness Inc. (hereinafter Icon) pleadings consist of two volumes, Vols. 2 and 3. Vol. 1 is missing. There is a draft of the first page of Ehrat's complaint against Icon in Box 9, Folder 3. A consent judgment was entered, and the parties settled out of court. The signed settlement is in this subseries.

There are two categories of production documents in this subseries, those for the plaintiff (three folders) and those for the defendant (seven folders), that have Bates numbers affixed to or printed on the bottom of the pages. Bates numbers are used to identify documents with a unique number. The parties to a lawsuit use these numbers to keep papers in order when they are sent to the other party during discovery.

The plaintiff's production documents include Bates numbers 1-205. Numbers 1-105 contain Ehrat's patent file history; numbers 107-205 are copies of Ehrat's licensing agreements through 1993.

In the defendant's production documents, one folder has Bates # I10001 and other numbered pages that are not in a particular order. Bates numbers I10068- I10882 include the file history for United States Patent No. 4,365,802, deformation-preventing swingable mount for basketball goals; correspondence among defendant's attorneys; copies of patents; and copies of licensing agreements through 1993.

Series 4: Licensing Agreements, 1982-2000 (bulk 1980s-1990s)

This series is divided into twenty-six subseries and encompasses materials pertaining to Ehrat's relationships with numerous companies that manufacture or sell sports equipment. These materials include correspondence and notes, licensing agreements and drafts of agreements, Dun and Bradstreet financial reports, catalogs, pamphlets, and other promotional materials. Ehrat and attorney McPherson Moore used the promotional materials to determine whether the companies were marketing or selling basketball goals that infringed on Ehrat's patent, then contacted the companies about licensing Ehrat's patent. With the exception of Subseries 1: Correspondence and Subseries 6: William Dittrich Patents, each subseries represents a different company.

To better understand Ehrat's relationships with these companies, researchers should consult Subseries 1: Correspondence, as well as the correspondence within specific subseries, in conjunction with licensing agreements and other documents in this series.

There are thirteen signed licensing agreements in this series, some of which bear original signatures. Ehrat's first licensee was with Basketball Products International, which signed an exclusive agreement in 1983. In November, 1984, after five civil action lawsuits in which Ehrat and Basketball Products International were either co-plaintiffs or co-defendants, the company signed a nonexclusive licensing agreement. Drafts of the agreements exist for some companies, but there is no evidence that the agreements were signed. In some cases, correspondence indicates which companies were not interested in entering into an agreement.

Ehrat's licensees include Huffy (signed May 1988); Basketball Products International, exclusive license (signed July 1983), nonexclusive license (signed November 1984); Toss Back (signed January 1985); Porter Equipment Company (signed 1985 and 1989); RDH Enterprises/Schutt (signed August 1991); Industrial Machine Specialties/Bison (signed January 1987); Lifetime Products (signed March 1989); Fisher-Price (owned by Quaker Oats, signed April 1988); Indian Industries/Harvard Sports (signed June 1991); McCullough (signed April 1990); and Sure Shot (signed March 1991).

Companies in this series without signed licensing agreements include Medart; Blazon-Flexible Flyer; Spang/Today's Kids; Sports and Leisure/Ideas That Sell; Wilson Sporting Goods; Hutch Sporting Goods; Aalco; Bergfeld Recreation; Future Pro; MacGregor; Pro-Bound; Architectural Design Products; and Hyland Engineering.

Settlements and licensing agreements that Ehrat signed with Gared Company, Diversified Products, and Icon appear only in Series 3, Civil Action and Settlement Records.

Subseries 6, William Dittrich Patents, contains correspondence and documents relating to the patent and royalty agreement Dittrich made with Ehrat in 1987. Dittrich had two basketball-related patents but had difficulty getting companies to license with him because there was confusion about his patents and those of Ehrat and Frederick Tyner. Dittrich contacted Ehrat's attorney, McPherson Moore, and they worked out an agreement. Ehrat acquired Dittrich's patents and they joined forces to attract licensing agreements and to split royalties and litigation settlements. Subseries 6 also has the transcript of a 1986 phone conference between William Dittrich and McPherson Moore regarding a possible joint agreement with Ehrat and the patent file history for United States Patent No. 4,151,989, basketball practice device. There is no file history for Dittrich's other patent, United States Patent No. 4,465,277, basketball goal structure, but there are pieces of the file history in this subseries. Subseries 6 also includes drafts and signed patent assignment papers and a signed licensing agreement between Ehrat and Dittrich, 1987.

Subseries 9, Lifetime Products, consists of itemized lists of attorney's fees from McPherson Moore for November 30, 1987, to February 28, 1989. The fees are for research, phone calls, photocopies, correspondence, and litigation documents for Ehrat v. Gared Company. The companies listed in these papers include Gared Company, Lifetime, Huffy, Fisher-Price, Sports and Leisure, Today's Kids, Toss Back, and Blazon.

Subseries 16, McCullough contains a Dunk-Kit (see Box 18), which Ehrat purchased in 1989. The Dunk-Kit is a set of springs and bolts that turn a set basketball goal into a breakaway goal. According to attorney McPherson Moore, the springs and bolts constituted an infringement of Ehrat's patent. McCullough disagreed with this assessment but eventually agreed to a monetary settlement.

Series 5: Field Spreader Patents and Other Ideas, 1977-2003

Subseries 1: Field Spreader Patents, 1977-2003

This subseries contains copies of Ehrat's two field spreader patents: United States Patent No. 4,358,054, field-sprayer tank-vehicle having means for on-site metering and mixing of soil-treating chemicals and United States Patent No. 4,588,127, material-spreading field vehicle having means for on-site metering and mixing of soil-treating chemicals. It also contains magazines, articles, and pamphlets on agricultural equipment and litigation documents between SoilTeq and Ag-Chem.

Subseries 2: Other Ideas, 1971-1998

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ehrat came up with ideas for other inventions, but none of them were patentable. This subseries has original sketches for "electric clippers with box for holding clippings;" a beverage can with multiple containers; and an "automobile refreshment temperature control." Included in the folders are letters that outline the ideas behind the inventions and the reasons they were not patented. Also included are copies of patents that relate to Ehrat's ideas.

Series 6: Toby Dittrich Files, 1889-1997

This series, which is further divided into five subseries, contains administrative records, prior art, patent records, correspondence, litigation materials, financial records, marketing and sales materials, photographs, and newspaper clippings from William A. (Toby) Dittrich. Dittrich invented the "Dunk King" break-away basketball rim in the mid 1970s while he was a physics professor at Pacific Lutheran University in Washington State. Dittrich patented and marketed his rim with mixed success before selling the rights to his patents to Arthur Ehrat in the mid 1980s. The two agreed to market and license their products independently, and cooperatively share royalties and settlements from patent infringement cases.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into five series.

Series 1: Background materials, 1968-2005

Subseries 1: Ehrat History, 1968-2005, 2011

Subseries 2: Photographs and Clippings, 1973-2005

Subseries 3: Oral History, 2005

Series 2: Patent records for basketball rim,1865-1984

Subseries 1: Ehrat and Dittrich Patents, 1979-1984

Subseries 2: Research and File History, 1865-1984

Subseries 3: Correspondence and Notes, 1976-1984

Subseries 4: Files from First Attorney, Ralph Staubly, 1976-1982

Series 3: Civil action and settlement records, 1984-1996

Subseries 1: Basketball Products International and Ehrat v. Mt. Vernon School District and Porter Equipment Company, 1984

Subseries 2: Porter Equipment Company v. Basketball Products International and Ehrat, 1984

Subseries 3: Gared Company v. Basketball Products International and Ehrat, 1984-1988

Subseries 4: Basketball Products International and Ehrat v. Gared Company --Pleadings, 1984

Subseries 5: Basketball Products International and Ehrat v. Toss Back, 1984

Subseries 6: Ehrat v. Gared Company and Nixdorff-Krein Industries, 1982-1989 (bulk 1987-1989)

Subseries 7: Ehrat v. Diversified Products, 1989-1994

Subseries 8: Ehrat v. Icon Health & Fitness Inc., Pro Form fitness Products, Inc. and K's Merchandise Mart, 1984-1996 (bulk 1994-1996)

Series 4: Licensing agreements, 1982-2000 (bulk 1980s-mid-1990s)

Subseries 1: Correspondence, 1980-1989

Subseries 2: Huffy, 1982-1994

Subseries 3: Basketball Products International, 1984-2000

Subseries 4: Toss Back, 1985-1988

Subseries 5: Porter, 1985-2000

Subseries 6: William Dittrich Patents, 1985-1994

Subseries 7: RDH Enterprises/Schutt, 1986-1991

Subseries 8: Industrial Machine Specialties/Bison, 1987-1999

Subseries 9: Lifetime Products, 1987-1989

Subseries 10: Medart, 1988

Subseries 11: Blazon-Flexible Flyer, 1988-1989

Subseries 12: Fisher-Price, 1988-1990

Subseries 13: Spang/Today's Kids, 1988-1990

Subseries 14: Sports and Leisure/Ideas That Sell, 1988-1990

Subseries 15: Indian Industries/Harvard Sports, 1989-2000

Subseries 16: McCullough, 1989-1993

Subseries 17: Wilson Sporting Goods, 1990

Subseries 18: Hutch Sporting Goods, 1990-1991

Subseries 19: Sure Shot, 1991-1997

Subseries 20: Aalco, 1991

Subseries 21: Bergfeld Recreation, 1991

Subseries 22: Future Pro, 1995-1997

Subseries 23: MacGregor, 1997

Subseries 24: Pro-Bound, 1997

Subseries 25: Architectural Design Products, 1997-1998

Subseries 26: Hyland Engineering, 1998

Series 5: Field spreader patents and other ideas, 1977-2003

Subseries 1: Field Spreader, 1977-2003

Subseries 2: Other Ideas, 1971-1998

Series 6: Toby Dittrich Files, 1889-1997

Subseries 1: Administrative, 1977-1991

Subseries 2: Patent Information, 1889-1989

Subseries 3: Legal/Patent Infriengement Matters, 1977-1997

Subseries 4: Marketing and Sales, 1977-1991

Subseries 5: Other Inventions and Ideas, 1978-1980
Biographical / Historical:
Arthur Henry Ehrat was born December 20, 1924. He grew up on a farm near Shobonier, IL, east of St. Louis. Ehrat had four sisters and a brother: Dorothea, Ruth, Bernice, Grace and Walter. Growing up on a farm during the Great Depression, Ehrat learned farming skills, including milking, baling, and operating heavy equipment such as threshing machines. After graduating from Vandalia High School he moved to Wheaton, IL, to work on a farm. From the latter part of 1945 until 1947, Ehrat was an Army medic, stationed in Fort Sheridan, IL; Camp Atterbury, IN; Fort Meade, MD; and Manila, Philippines. After his Army service, Ehrat moved back to Illinois and spent a few years farming with his brother.

In the early 1950s Ehrat lived with his sister Bernice and her family in Minneapolis while attending a two-year course at Minneapolis Business College. Upon completion of the course, he returned to Virden, IL and worked at a grain elevator. Ehrat met Mary Mardell Worth in Virden. They were married June 27, 1954, and had five daughters: Rose, Jo, Sharon, Jane and Linda. Ehrat managed the grain elevator at Farmers Elevator Co. in Lowder, IL for nearly 30 years.

In the mid-1970s, Ehrat's nephew, Randy Albrecht, a coach at St. Louis University, mentioned that basketball players were slamming the basketball ball through the rim and hurting themselves, as well as bending or breaking the rims, which were affixed directly to the backboard. The bent rims had to be straightened, causing a delay of game. While Ehrat never had a strong interest in the game of basketball, Albrecht suggested his uncle, who was known as a tinkerer, come up with a safer basketball rim. The conversation sparked a few ideas. Ehrat bought a flimsy $20 basketball rim and began building a prototype.

Basketball fans during the 1940s and 1950s didn't see many slam dunks. Despite the leaping ability of stars Bob Kurland, George Mikan, and James Clifford Pollard, aka "the Kangaroo Kid," the dunk shot was considered showboating and was often done only in practice. Basketball players, whose average size was smaller in the mid-20th century, viewed the dunk as a low-percentage shot compared with the ubiquitous jump-shot.

In 1967, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) outlawed dunking. A few years later, Julius "Dr. J" Erving, who played professionally for the American Basketball Association's Virginia Squires, re-ignited excitement about basketball with his high-flying slams. In the first half of 1976, a few months before Ehrat first applied for a patent, the dunk was reinstated in college basketball.

At the professional level, flamboyant hoops star Darryl "Dr. Dunk" Dawkins shattered some glass backboards in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which prompted the National Basketball Association (NBA) to ban the shattering of backboards and make collapsible rims mandatory. The NBA's call for collapsible rims, along with the NCAA's reinstatement of the dunk, opened the door for innovations in basketball rims.

Collapsible rims, which folded down when pressure was applied to them, were the precursor to breakaway rims and had to be manually put back in place. Ehrat created a safer basketball rim that automatically snapped back after a slam dunk.

Ehrat's first rim, used a door spring. It was bolted to two plates, one that remained fastened while the other flexed down under pressure. The hinge was not strong enough, so he focused on creating a detent. A detent is a device that holds one mechanical part in relation to another so the device can be released when force is applied. If someone slam dunks a basketball and pulls on the rim, a detent would allow the rim to flex downward with minimal pressure on the backboard. Ehrat fitted some heavy-duty magnets between metal plates on the rim, but this did not work as he envisioned.

The turning point came when Ehrat decided to use a spring mechanism. Drawing upon his agricultural background, he pulled a spring from a John Deere cultivator, cutting it to fit the basketball rim. The thick, sturdy coil was able to withstand more than a hundred pounds of pressure before yielding downward and would push the rim back into place. In addition to the spring, he tested ball bearings, bolts, and corner braces before finding the right combination that would hold at least 150 pounds of pressure.

Once he had viable prototypes, Ehrat tested their durability. He sent one to Virden High School and enlisted Randy Albrecht, to test the other prototypes. Albrecht used his connections as a basketball coach at St. Louis Community College at Meramec to have prototypes installed at the schools where he worked. The rims were sent to other high schools and colleges by Ehrat. For more information on where the prototypes went, see his deposition in Series 3, Subseries 3. Ehrat estimated in his deposition that he built approximately 36-40 prototype rims.

It took six years, from July 1976 to December 1982, for Ehrat to receive the patent on his basketball goal (United States Patent No. 4,365,802, Deformation-preventing swingable mount for basketball goals). His application was rejected twice, with patent examiner Paul Shapiro noting that Frederick C. Tyner held a patent for a similar basketball goal (United States Patent No. 4,111, 420, energy-absorbing basketball goal/backboard unit).

Ehrat and his attorney, Ralph Staubly, pursued an appeal of the rejection. Staubly, a retired patent examiner had moved to Springfield, IL, in the 1970s to open a private practice. A major part of the appeal involved notarized letters from acquaintances who said that Ehrat's invention was unique and would be an asset to the sport of basketball. He also proved, through copies of canceled checks and a rough sketch of his invention, that he was working on his breakaway basketball goal in 1975 before Frederick Tyner conceived of his. In a 1984 deposition (Series 3, Subseries 1), Tyner placed the date of his invention near the last week of March or first week of April 1976, not long after he heard that the NCAA had reinstated dunking.

Ehrat won the appeal, effectively rendering the Tyner patent invalid. After Staubly fell ill and moved to Texas, and in early 1983, Ehrat found a new patent attorney,McPherson Moore of the St. Louis firm Rogers, Eilers and Howell, who became Ehrat's main legal counsel for approximately 20 years.

In February, 1983, two months after Ehrat received his patent, his attorney McPherson Moore sent certified letters to more than 60 sporting goods companies to announce the patent. The letters were sent to alert companies of possible infringement and to garner interest in licensing agreements.

During the basketball goal patent's 17-year lifespan, Ehrat obtained a dozen companies as licensees. Only Fisher-Price and Schutt Manufacturing signed without much difficulty. Ehrat worked to get the other companies licensed, in some cases filing patent infringement lawsuits or threatening to file them. Ehrat's first licensing agreement, signed in 1983, was with Basketball Products International.

Ehrat was involved in eight civil action lawsuits, five of which took place in 1984, when he had to prove for a second time that he had his idea for a breakaway goal before Tyner. Ehrat also defended his patent against other, similar patents issued to sporting goods companies in the early 1980s. Kenneth Mahoney of Toss Back, Charles Engle of Gared Company, and the Porter Equipment Co. all received patents for basketball goal devices, citing Ehrat's patent as prior art. Ehrat was involved in lawsuits with all three companies.

In 1986, Ehrat and attorney McPherson Moore were contacted by William "Toby" Dittrich, who held two patents --United States Patent No. 4,151,989, basketball practice device and United States Patent No. 4,465,277, basketball goal structure. Dittrich was having difficulty licensing his patents to companies because of the confusion over Ehrat's and Tyner's patents. Dittrich assigned his patents to Ehrat in 1987 and they signed a joint licensing agreement to split royalties and settlement money.

In addition to his basketball goal patent, Ehrat also holds two patents for agricultural inventions: United States Patent No. 4,358,054, field-sprayer tank-vehicle having means for on-site metering and mixing of soil-treating chemicals; and United States Patent No. 4,588,127, material-spreading field vehicle having means for on-site metering and mixing of soil-treating chemicals.

Arthur Ehrat died on July 9, 2015.
Related Materials:
Artifacts related to this collection were donated to the Museum's Division of Music, Sports and Entertainment, now the Division of Culture and Arts.
Provenance:
Donated to the Archives Center in 2005 by Arthur Ehrat. An addenda of materials related to Toby Dittrich was donated by Toby Dittrich in 2014.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Patent suits  Search this
Sporting goods industry -- 1950-1990  Search this
Baketball hoops  Search this
Basketball  Search this
Inventors  Search this
Inventions -- 20th century  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 2000-2010
Videotapes -- 2000-2010
Audiovisual materials
Interviews -- 2000-2010
Oral history -- 2000-2010
Legal records
Patents -- 20th century
Citation:
Arthur Ehrat Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0907
See more items in:
Arthur Ehrat Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0907
Online Media:

George H. Clark Radioana Collection

Creator:
Clark, George Howard, 1881-1956  Search this
Source:
Electricity and Modern Physics, Division of, NMAH, SI.  Search this
Names:
American Marconi Company.  Search this
Radio Corporation of America.  Search this
Former owner:
Electricity and Modern Physics, Division of, NMAH, SI.  Search this
Extent:
220 Cubic feet (700 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Technical manuals
Clippings
Patents
Correspondence
Blueprints
Letters patent
Photographs
Sale catalogs
Technical drawings
Date:
circa 1880-1950
Summary:
The collection forms a documentary record of over half a century of the history of radio, with the greatest emphasis on the period 1900-1935. The collection includes materials that span the entire history of the growth of the radio industry. It is useful for those historians and other researchers interested in technological development, economic history, and the impact of applications of technology on American life.
Scope and Contents:
The materials accumulated in this collection represent the overriding collecting passion of one individual, George H. Clark. The collection forms a documentary record of over half a century of the history of radio, with the greatest emphasis on the period 1900-1935.

The collection includes materials that span the entire history of the growth of the radio industry. It is useful for those historians and other researchers interested in technological development, economic history, and the impact of applications of technology on American life.

In particular, the collection is rich in biographical information on the men who developed the technical aspects of radio and the industry; information on the inception, growth, and activities of radio companies, most notably the National Electric Signaling Company and RCA; and in photographs of all aspects of Radioana.

While most materials document technical aspects of radio, there is much information (e.g. Series 109, 134) on broadcasting and on the early history of television.

The collection, housed in over 700 boxes (about 276 linear feet), was organized into 259 numbered "classes" or series by Clark. Sixty series numbers were never used or were eliminated by Clark and combined with other series. The unused numbers are scattered throughout the filing system. The collection also includes material from series that were eliminated. These materials were never reclassified and are included as an unprocessed series at the end of the series descriptions. The collection also contains material that was never assigned a "class" designation by Clark (Lettered Series: D, E, F, G, H).

The arrangement of the collection is Clark's own; his adaptation of the Navy filing system he helped devise in 1915. Clark periodically revised the filing system and reclassified items within it.

Clark assigned class numbers to types of equipment (e.g. broadcast receivers), systems (impulse-excited transmitters and systems), scientific theories (circuit theory), and topics (company history, biography). Box 1 contains descriptions of the classification system.

When Clark classified an item and filed it he also assigned a serial number. This classification begins with 1 (or 1A) for the first item in the class and continues with successive numbers as items were added. As a consequence, the order of individual items within a series reflects the order in which Clark filed them, not any logical relationship between the items. Clark created cross references for items dealing with more than one subject by making notations on blank sheets of paper placed in related series.

Clark made cross references between series when there was no logical relationship between them; that is, when a person using the collection would not normally look in the series. For example no cross reference would be made of an engineer from series 87 (portraits) to series 4 (biography), but one would be made from series 87 to series 142 (history of television) if the item showed the engineer, say, working on a television installation.

Clark created the insignia "SRM" as the sign on the bottom of all sheets of paper numbered by him for binding. SRM stood for Smithsonian Radio Museum. This replaced the earlier though not greatly used sign "CGM." For a time about 1930, the class number on each sheet was preceded by these: "C.G.M.", for Clark, Martin, and Goldsmith, the earliest contributors to what would become the Clark Radioana Collection. After about 1933-34 Clark used C.W.C. for Clark Wireless Collection.

There are many photographs located in most series throughout the collection. But there are also three exclusive photographic series. Lettered series A, B, C. See index; and also series descriptions under lettered series.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into 223 series.

Numbered Series 1-233:

Series 1, Library Operating System, 1915-1950

Series 2, Apparatus Type Numbers, 1916-1931

Series 3, Photographic Lists, 1925-1928

Series 4, Biographies of Radio Personages, Technical Index to Correspondents in Series 4

Series 5, History of Radio Companies, 1895-1950

De Forest Radio Company, 1905-1930s

Jenkins Televsion Corporation, 1924-1931

Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, 1908-1929

National Electric Signaling Company, 1896-1941

Wireless Specialty Apparatus Company, 1906-1929

Radio Corporation of America, 1895-1950

Series 6, Shore Stations, 1900-1940

Series 7, Marine Stations, 1900-1930s

Series 8, Broadcasting Stations, 1910s-1940s

Series 9, Amateur Stations, 1910s-1940s

Series 10, Miscellaneous Information, 1911-1914

Series 11, Radio Antiques, 1921-1938

Series 13, Specifications of Radio Apparatus, 1910s-1930s

Series 14, General History, 1899-1950s

Series 15, Radio Companies Catalogues & Bound Advertisements, 1873-1941

Series 16, Log Books, 1902-1923

Series 17, Radio Companies' House Organs, 1896-1942

Series 18, Prime Movers, 1904-1911

Series 19, Batteries, 1898-1934

Series 20, Rectifiers, 1875-1935

Series 21, Motor Generators, 1898-1936

Series 22, Nameplates of Apparatus, 1928

Series 23, Switchboards and Switchboard Instruments, 1910-1935

Series 24, Radio Frequency Switches, 1905-1905-1933

Series 25, Transmitter Transformers, 1893-1949

Series 26, Operating Keys, 1843-1949

Series 27, Power Type Interrupters, 1902-1938

Series 28, Protective Devices, 1910-1925

Series 30, Message Blanks, 1908-1938

Series 31, Transmitter Condensers, 1849-1943

Series 32, Spark Gaps, 1905-1913

Series 33, Transmitter Inductances, 1907-1922

Series 34, Transmitter Wave Changers, 1907-1924

Series 37, ARC Transmitters, 1907-1940

Series 38, Vacuum Tube Type of Radio Transmitter, 1914-1947

Series 39, Radio Transmitter, Radio-Frequency, Alternator Type, 1894-1940

Series 41, Vacuum Tubes, Transmitting Type, 1905-1948

Series 43, Receiving Systems, 1904-1934

Series 45, Broadcast Receivers, 1907-1948

Series 46, Code Receivers, 1902-1948

Series 47, Receiving Inductances, 1898-1944

Series 48, Receiving Condensers, 1871-1946

Series 49, Audio Signal Devices, 1876-1947

Series 50, Detectors, 1878-1944

Series 51, Amplifiers, 1903-1949

Series 52, Receiving Vacuum Tubes, 1905-1949

Series 53, Television Receivers, 1928-1948

Series 54, Photo-Radio Apparatus, 1910-1947

Series 59, Radio Schools, 1902-1945

Series 60, Loudspeakers, 1896-1946

Series 61, Insulators, 1844-1943

Series 62, Wires, 1906-1945

Series 63, Microphones, 1911-1947

Series 64, Biography, 1925-1948

Series 66, Antennas, 1877-1949

Series 67, Telautomatics, 1912-1944

Series 69, Direction Finding Equipment, Radio Compasses, 1885-1948

Series 71, Aircraft Transmitters, 1908-1947

Series 72, Field or Portables Transmitters, 1901-1941

Series 73, Mobile Radio Systems, 1884-1946

Series 74, Radio Frequency Measuring Instruments, 1903-1946

Series 75, Laboratory Testing Methods and Systems, 1891-1945

Series 76, Aircraft Receivers, 1917-1941

Series 77, Field Portable Receivers, 1906-1922

Series 78, Spark Transmitter Assembly, 1909-1940

Series 79, Spark Transmitter System, 1900-1945

Series 82, Firsts in Radio, undated

Series 85: Distance Records and Tests, 1898-1940

Series 87, Photographs of Radio Executives, and Technical Types, 1857-1952

Series 90, Radio Terms, 1857-1939

Series 92, Static Patents and Static Reducing Systems, 1891-1946

Series 93, Low Frequency Indicating Devices, 1904-1946

Series 95, Articles on Radio Subjects, 1891-1945

Series 96, Radio in Education, 1922-1939

Series 98, Special Forms of Broadcasting, 1921-1943

Series 99, History of Lifesaving at Sea by Radio, 1902-1949

Series 100, History of Naval Radio, 1888-1948

Series 101, Military Radio, 1898-1946

Series 102, Transmitting & Receiving Systems, 1902-1935

Series 103, Receiving Methods, 1905-1935

Series 108, Codes and Ciphers, 1894-1947

Series 109, Schedules of Broadcasting & TV Stations, 1905-1940

Series 112, Radio Shows and Displays, 1922-1947

Series 114, Centralized Radio Systems, 1929-1935

Series 116, United States Government Activities in Radio, 1906-1949

Series 117, Technical Tables, 1903-1932

Series 120, Litigation on Radio Subjects, 1914-1947

Series 121, Legislation, 1914-1947

Series 122, History of Radio Clubs, 1907-1946

Series 123, Special Applications of Radio Frequency, 1924-1949

Series 124, Chronology, 1926-1937

Series 125, Radio Patents & Patent Practices, 1861-1949

Series 126, Phonographs, 1894-1949

Series 127, Piezo Electric Effect, 1914-1947

Series 128, ARC Transmitting & Reciving Systems, 1904-1922

Series 129, Spark Systems, 1898-1941

Series 130, Vacuum Tubes Systems, 1902-1939

Series 132, Radiophone Transmitting & Receiving System, 1906-1947

Series 133, Photo-Radio, 1899-1947

Series 134, History of Radio Broadcasting, 1908-

Series 135, History of Radiotelephony, Other Than Broadcasting

Series 136, History of Amateur Radio

Series 138, Transoceanic Communication

Series 139, Television Transmitting Stations

Series 140, Radio Theory

Series 142, History of Television

Series 143, Photographs

Series 144, Radio Publications

Series 145, Proceedings of Radio Societies

Series 146: Radio Museums

Series 147, Bibliography of Radio Subjects and Apparatus

Series 148, Aircraft Guidance Apparatus

Series 150, Audio Frequency Instruments

Series 151, History of Radio for Aircrafts

Series 152, Circuit Theory

Series 154, Static Elimination

Series 161, Radio in Medicine

Series 162, Lighting

Series 163, Police Radio

Series 169, Cartoons

Series 173, Communications, Exclusive of Radio (after 1895)

Series 174, Television Methods and Systems

Series 182, Military Portable Sets

Series 189, Humor in Radio (see

Series 169)

Series 209, Short Waves

Series 226, Radar

Series 233, Television Transmitter

Lettered Series

Series A, Thomas Coke Knight RCA Photographs, circa 1902-1950

Series B, George H. Clark Collection of Photographs by ClassSeries C, Clark Unorganized and/or Duplicate Photographs

Series D, Miscellaneous

Series E, News Clippings Series F: Radio Publications

Series G, Patent Files of Darby and Darby, Attorneys, circa 1914-1935

Series H, Blank Telegram Forms from many Companies and Countries Throughout the World

Series I (eye), Miscellaneous Series

Series J, Research and Laboratory Notebooks

Series K, Index to Photographs of Radio Executives and Technical Types

Series L, Index to Bound Volumes of Photos in Various Series

Series M, Index to David Sarnoff Photographs
Biographical / Historical:
George Howard Clark, born February 15, 1881, at Alberton, Prince Edward Island, Canada, emigrated to the United States at the age of fourteen. He worked as a railroad telegraph operator for the Boston and Maine Railroad during high school and college. In his unpublished autobiography he wrote:

In 1888, when I was a lad of seven, I suddenly blossomed out as a scrapbook addict, and for years I gave up boyhood games for the pleasure of sitting in a lonely attic and 'pasting up' my books ... By 1897, in high school, I graduated to beautiful pictures, and made many large size scrapbooks ... Around that time, too, I became infatuated with things electrical, and spent many evenings copying in pen and ink the various electrical text books in the Everett, Mass., Public Library. Clark began collecting material pertaining to wireless or radio in 1902. In 1903 he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. During his last year of college he specialized in radio work under the instruction of Professor John Stone Stone and after graduation went to work for Stone's radio company, the Stone Telegraph and Telephone Company, of Boston.

In 1908 Clark took a competitive examination open to all wireless engineers in the United States and entered the civilian service of the Navy. He was stationed at the Washington Navy Yard, with special additional duty at the Navy's Bureau of Steam Engineering and at the National Bureau of Standards.

In 1915 Clark helped devise a classification system for Navy equipment, assigning a code number to each item. This system of classification for blueprints, photographs, reports, and general data, was prepared by Arthur Trogner, Guy Hill, and Clark, all civilian radio experts with the US Navy Department in Washington. In 1918 Clark adopted the 1915 Navy classification system for organizing the radio data he was accumulating. Clark created the term "Radioana" at this time. He began spending his evenings and weekends pasting up his collection and numbering pages. At this time he bound the accumulated material. It totaled 100 volumes.

In July 1919, after resigning from the Navy, Clark joined the engineering staff of the Marconi Telegraph Company of America, which became part of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) later the same year. His first work was at Belmar and Lakewood, New Jersey, assisting the chief engineer, Roy A. Weagant, in his development of circuits to reduce the interference caused by static (static reduction). Clark and his wife were assigned to the unheated Engineer's Cottage. His wife decided not to stay and left for Florida. Clark moved his trunks of wireless material to the heated RCA hotel at Belmar and spent most of the winter "pasting." As Clark mentions, "From that time on I was wedded to scraps."

After a year of work in New Jersey, Clark was assigned to the sales department in New York, where he devised the "type number system" used by RCA. This type number system, for example, gave the designation UV 201 to the company's first amplifier tube.

From 1922 to 1934 Clark was in charge of RCA's newly created Show Division, which held exhibits of new and old radio apparatus at state fairs, department stores, and radio shows. About 1928 Clark started an antique radio apparatus museum for RCA. RCA's board of directors announced:

Recognizing the importance of providing a Museum for the Radio Art to house the rapidly disappearing relics of earlier days, and the desirability of collecting for it without further delay examples of apparatus in use since the inception of radio, the Board of Directors of RCA has made an initial appropriation of $100,000, as the nucleus of a fund for the establishment of a National Radio Museum. A plan for ultimately placing the museum under the wing of the Smithsonian Institution was coupled with the goal of the Institution's gathering the largest possible library of wireless data.

Around 1933 the RCA traveling exhibition program ended and Clark started classifying his collected "radioana" material. The objects of the museum were eventually turned over for exhibit purposes to the Rosenwald Museum in Chicago and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, when space was not forthcoming at the Smithsonian. A list of objects sent to the two museums (with tag and case numbers) is in Series 1, Box A. The "radioana" collection remained under Clark's care during the 1930s, and became of increasing use to RCA. Clark continued to add to the material.

Between 1934 and 1942 Clark was in court many times regarding patent infringements. Clark's wireless data was useful and he testified frequently, for example, in RCA's suit against the United States in the Court of Claims over the Marconi tuning patents and in the Westinghouse Company's suit against the United States over the heterodyne. Patent specifications and material regarding these and other radio industry suits are found throughout this collection.

In 1946 RCA retired George Clark and denied him space to house his "radioana" collection. Clark wished to remain in New York and house the collection somewhere in the city where it would be open at all times to the public and where it would be maintained. He hoped to continue cataloguing the collection and writing books from its information. He wanted to keep the collection under his control for as long as he was capable of using it.

George H. Clark died in 1956 and his collection was subsequently given to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1959 the collection was given to the Smithsonian's new Museum of History and Technology, where space was available to house it. The collection remained in the Division of Electricity until the spring of 1983 when it was transferred to the Archives Center.
Brief Company Histories From The Radio Industry, 1900-1930s:
Introduction

At the end of the nineteenth century, when Guglielmo Marconi began his first wireless company, Western Union, Postal Telegraph, and the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) were the major enterprises in electrical communications. General Electric, Western Electric, and Westinghouse were the major producers of electrical equipment. All these earlier developments set the stage for the expansion of the radio industry.

General Electric, which dominated the lighting industry, was formed in 1892 as a merger of the Edison and Thomson-Houston companies. It was active in building central power station equipment; controlled nearly all the important early patents in electric railways; took a leading part in the introduction of trolley systems; and was the principal supplier of electric motors. Westinghouse promoted the alternating current system and installed the first AC central station in Buffalo, NY, during the winter of 1866-1867. After years of patent litigation, in 1896 GE and Westinghouse agreed to share their patents on electrical apparatus.

American Bell Telephone Company purchased Western Electric in 1881. Western Electric had a strong patent position in telephone equipment and in industrial power apparatus, such as arc lamps, generators, motors, and switchboard equipment.

Until RCA was formed in 1919, these established electrical companies played no active part in the early development of the American radio industry. They were in difficult financial positions, reorganizing, or concentrating their efforts and resources on improving their existing products.

The revolution in "wireless" technology, which began in earnest after 1900, centered in New York City, home of the Lee de Forest and American Marconi companies, and in Boston, headquarters of John Stone Stone and Reginald Fessenden.

Information in this section was compiled from the Clark Collection; the Invention and Innovation in the Radio Industry by W. Rupert Maclaurin, Macmillan Company, New York, 1949; and Radio Pioneers, Institute of Radio Engineers, Commemorating the Radio Pioneers Dinner, Hotel Commodore, New York, NY, November 8, 1945.

The De Forest Companies

Lee De Forest (1873-1961), inventor of the three-element vacuum tube or triode (1906) and the feedback circuit, was one of the first Americans to write a doctoral thesis on wireless telegraphy: "The Reflection of Short Hertzian Waves from the Ends of Parallel Wires," Yale University, 1899. The grid-controlled tube or audion of De Forest was first a radio detector, 1906-1907; in 1912 was adapted to an amplifier; and later to an oscillator. When it was perfected as a high vacuum tube, it became the great electronic instrument of electrical communications.

De Forest began work in the Dynamo Department at the Western Electric Company in 1899. Six months later he was promoted to the telephone laboratory. In 1900 De Forest went to work for the American Wireless Telegraph Company where he was able to carry out work on his "responder." However, after three months when De Forest refused to turn over the responder to the company, he was fired.

In the following year De Forest had a number of jobs, was active as an inventor, and created numerous firms to manufacture his inventions. In 1901 De Forest joined with Ed Smythe, a former Western Electric colleague and a collaborator in his research, to found the firm of De Forest, Smythe, and Freeman. Between 1902 and 1906 De Forest took out thirty-four patents on all phases of wireless telegraphy. The responder that he had been working on for so long never proved satisfactory.

The numerous De Forest companies, reflected his many interests and his inability to carry one project through to a conclusion. Unlike Marconi, but similar to Fessenden, De Forest had great inventive skill which resulted in a great number of companies; but none lasted long. The original partnership of 1901 led to the Wireless Telegraph Co. of America (1901), the De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company (Maine) (1902), and the American De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company (1903), to name a few.

The American De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company was incorporated after De Forest met a stock promoter, Abraham White. While many stations were built by this company, many never sent a message due to static interference. In 1907 two speculators from Denver with large holdings of company stock put the company out of business. The assets were sold to a new company that these speculators organized, the United Wireless Telephone Company. De Forest was forced to resign. He took the triode patents with him.

De Forest joined with one of White's stock salesmen, James Dunlop Smith, and together with De Forest's patent attorney, Samuel E. Darby, they formed a new corporation, the De Forest Radio Telephone Company in 1907. This company set out to develop wireless communication by means of the radio telephone.

In January 1910 De Forest staged the first opera broadcast, with Enrico Caruso singing. The Radio Telephone Company went bankrupt in 1911 following an aborted merger with North American Wireless Corporation. In 1913 he reorganized the company as the Radio Telephone and Telegraph Company and began producing the triode.

The Marconi Company brought a patent suit, claiming the triode infringed on the Fleming valve to which it had rights. In 1916 the court decided that Marconi had infringed the three element De Forest patent and that De Forest had infringed the two element Fleming valve. The result was that neither company could manufacture the triode.

In 1920 RCA acquired the De Forest triode rights through cross-licensing agreements with AT&T which had recently purchased the rights to it. De Forest's company was no match for GE, Westinghouse, and RCA. The De Forest Radio Company (1923) went bankrupt in 1928, was reorganized in 1930, and went into receivership in 1933. RCA eventually purchased its assets.

Marconi Companies

Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) came from a wealthy and well connected Italian family. He was able to spend his time developing his inventions and following his own course of action. Marconi spent his entire life developing wireless communication into a "practical" reality. In 1905 Marconi invented a directional antenna. In 1909 he shared with Karl Ferdinand Braun the Nobel prize in physics. And in 1912 he invented the time spark system for the generation of continuous waves. The principal patents in his name were improved types of vertical antennas; improved coherer; magnetic detector for the detection of wireless signals; and improvements on methods of selective tuning. Two other inventions of great importance to the Marconi companies' patent structure were the Oliver Lodge tuning patent and the Ambrose Fleming valve.

In 1895 Marconi made the first successful transmission of long wave signals. The following year he met William Preece, engineer-in-chief of the British Post Office, who was interested in inductive wireless telegraphy. This meeting led to the formation in 1897 of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd. In 1898 he transmitted signals across the English Channel. In 1899 an American subsidiary was formed. The various Marconi companies were the dominant enterprises in both British and American wireless until 1919 when RCA was formed.

From a business standpoint, wireless did not become profitable until long distance communications were accomplished. On December 12, 1901 in St. John's, Newfoundland, Marconi received a telegraph signal in the form of repetitions of the Morse telegraphic letter "S" transmitted from the Marconi station at Poldhu, Cornwall, England. This success, however, was met by opposition from vested interests, particularly the Anglo-American Telegraph Company whose cables terminated in Newfoundland.

So as not to restrict his company's future to one front alone, Marconi decided to exploit the field of communication with ships at sea. In order to control this field he decided in 1900 to lease his apparatus rather than sell it outright. This strategy did not work. Competition developed in Germany (Telefunken Corporation) and the United States (American De Forest and its successor, United Wireless) and Marconi was forced to sell rather than lease apparatus to the navies of various countries. He nevertheless retained numerous restrictions. This led to further friction. At the height of this debacle English stations worldwide refused to communicate with ships without Marconi equipment. This absurd and dangerous situation had to change and coastal stations opened up to all senders in 1908.

Marconi's system was based on spark technology. He saw no need for voice transmission. He felt the Morse code adequate for communication between ships and across oceans. He, along with most others, did not foresee the development of the radio and the broadcasting industry. He was a pragmatist and uninterested in scientific inquiry in a field where commercial viability was unknown.

For these reasons Marconi left the early experimentation with the radio telephone to others, particularly Lee De Forest and Reginald Fessenden.

National Electric Signaling Company

Canadian-born Reginald Fessenden (1866-1932), one of the principal early radio inventors and the first important inventor to experiment with wireless, left the University of Pittsburgh in 1900 to work for the U.S. Weather Bureau. There he invented the liquid barretter, an early radio receiver, and attempted to work out a means for wireless transmission of weather forecasts. After a squabble over patent rights, Fessenden resigned in 1902.

The National Electric Signaling Company (NESCO), primarily intended to support Fessenden's work on wireless, telegraphy, and telephony, was formed by Fessenden and two Pittsburgh capitalists, Hay Walker, Jr. and Thomas H. Given. It began as an inventor's laboratory and never proved successful as a business venture.

Fessenden recognized that a continuous wave transmission was required for speech and he continued the work of Nikola Tesla, John Stone Stone, and Elihu Thomson on this subject. Fessenden felt he could also transmit and receive Morse code better by the continuous wave method than with a spark-apparatus as Marconi was using.

In 1903 Fessenden's first high-frequency alternator needed for continuous wave transmission was built to his specifications by Charles Steinmetz of GE. In 1906 Fessenden obtained a second alternator of greater power from GE and on Christmas Eve broadcast a program of speech and music. The work on this alternator was given to Ernst F. W. Alexanderson. It took years for Alexanderson to develop an alternator capable of transmitting regular voice transmissions over the Atlantic. But by 1916 the Fessenden-Alexanderson alternator was more reliable for transatlantic communication than the spark apparatus.

Fessenden also worked on continuous-wave reception. This work arose out of his desire for a more effective type of receiver than the coherer, a delicate device that was limited by its sensitivity on a rolling ship at sea. In 1903 he developed a new receiving mechanism - the electrolytic detector.

As his work progressed Fessenden evolved the heterodyne system. However, due to faulty construction and the fact that it was ahead of its time, heterodyne reception was not fully appreciated until the oscillating triode was devised, thus allowing a practical means of generating the local frequency.

Between 1905 and 1913 Fessenden developed a completely self-sustaining wireless system. However, constant quarrels between Fessenden, Walker, and Given culminated in Fessenden's forming the Fessenden Wireless Company of Canada. He felt a Canadian company could better compete with British Marconi. As a result, his backers dismissed Fessenden from NESCO in January of 1911. Fessenden brought suit, won, and was awarded damages. To conserve assets pending appeal, NESCO went into receivership in 1912, and Samuel Kintner was appointed general manager of the company.

In 1917 Given and Walker formed International Signal Company (ISC) and transferred NESCO's patent assets to the new company. Westinghouse obtained majority control of ISC through the purchase of $2,500,000 worth of stock. The company was then reincorporated as The International Radio Telegraph Company. The Westinghouse-RCA agreements were signed in 1921 and International's assets were transferred to RCA.

RCA

The development of the radio industry accelerated after 1912. This was due to several factors, the most important of which was the passage of legislation by the US government requiring ships at sea to carry wireless. This created a market incentive and spurred the growth of the industry. Also, with the outbreak of World War I, the larger electrical companies turned their manufacturing output to radio apparatus, supporting the war effort. Three firms were prominent in this industrial endeavor: AT&T, GE, and Westinghouse.

AT&T's early contributions to this effort centered on their improvements of De Forest's triode, particularly in the evolution of circuits, the redesign of the mechanical structure, and an increase in the plate design. The importation of the Gaede molecular pump from Germany created a very high vacuum. The resulting high-vacuum tube brought the practical aspects of the wireless telephone closer to reality. By August 1915 speech had been sent by land wire to Arlington, Va., automatically picked up there via a newly developed vacuum-tube transmitter, and subsequently received at Darien, Canal Zone. By 1920 AT&T had purchased the rights to the De Forest triode and feedback circuit, and had placed itself in a strong position in the evolution of radio technology.

GE centered its efforts on the alternator, assigning Ernst F. W. Alexanderson to its design, and on further development of vacuum tube equipment for continuous wave telegraph transmission. By 1915 Alexanderson, Irving Langmuir, William D. Coolidge, and others had developed a complete system of continuous wave transmission and reception for GE.

As can be seen, both AT&T and GE were diverting major time and expenditures on vacuum tube research. This inevitably led to patent interferences and consequently, to cross-licensing arrangements.

Westinghouse was not in the strategic position of GE and AT&T. Nevertheless, during the war it did manufacture large quantities of radio apparatus, motors, generators, and rectifiers for the European and American governments. Postwar moves led Westinghouse into full partnership with the other two companies.

By the end of the war, all three companies had committed significant resources to wireless. They were hampered internationally, however, by the Marconi Company's dominant status, and in the United States they were blocked by opposing interests with control of key patents.

The US government also was concerned with this lack of solidarity in the wireless industry and over the British domination of the field worldwide. This impasse set a fascinating and complicated stage for the formation of the RCA.

Owen D. Young, legal counselor for GE, was instrumental in breaking the impasse. Through an innovative and far-reaching organizational consolidation, Young was able to persuade British Marconi that persistence in monopoly was a fruitless exercise, because of the strong US government feelings. Marconi, realizing the harm of a potential American boycott, finally agreed to terms. GE purchased the controlling interest in American Marconi, and RCA was formed. Young was made chairman of the board of RCA, while Edwin J. Nally and David Sarnoff of the old American Marconi were appointed president and commercial manager respectively.

On July 1, 1920, RCA signed a cross-licensing agreement with AT&T. The telephone company purchased one half million shares of RCA common and preferred stock for several considerations -- the most important being that all current and future radio patents of the two companies were available to each other royalty-free for ten years. Many provisions of these agreements were ambiguous and led to later squabbles between the RCA partners.

In May 1920 Westinghouse, which had an efficient radio manufacturing organization, formed an alliance with the International Radio and Telegraph Company (NESCO's successor). Westinghouse's part ownership gave them control of Fessenden's patents, particularly continuous-wave transmission and heterodyne transmission. Westinghouse also wisely purchased in October of 1920 Armstrong's patents on the regenerative and superheterodyne circuits -- which also included some of Columbia University professor Michael Pupin's patents. This placed Westinghouse in a strong bargaining position vis-à-vis RCA and in their new consolidated corporation. Westinghouse joined the growing group of radio companies on June 30, 1921. With these mergers, RCA agreed to purchase forty percent of its radio apparatus from Westinghouse and sixty percent from GE.

Through these and other legal arrangements, RCA obtained the rights to over 2,000 patents. These amounted to practically all the patents of importance in the radio science of that day. As a result, other firms in the radio industry, for example, the United Fruit Company and the Wireless Specialty Apparatus Company, entered into cross-licensing arrangements with RCA.

RCA also made arrangements internationally with the three dominant companies in radio communication in their respective countries. British Marconi, Compagnie Generale de Telegraphie sans fil, and Telefunken. Each corporation was given exclusive rights to use the other companies' patents within their own territories.

The rise of amateur radio in the 1920s and, to a greater extent, the demand for new products by the general public contributed to the rise of the broadcasting industry. This put a strain on the earlier agreements between the major radio corporations and between 1921 and 1928 there was a struggle over patents for control of the evolving medium.

An initial attempt by AT&T to control the broadcasting industry -- using its earlier cross-licensing agreements to manufacture radio telephone transmitting equipment -- began with AT&T's disposal of RCA stock holdings in 1922-1923. It ended in 1926 with a new cross-licensing agreement which gave AT&T exclusive patent rights in the field of public service telephony and gave GE, RCA, and Westinghouse exclusive patent rights in the areas covered by wireless telegraphy, entertainment broadcasting, and the manufacture of radio sets and receiving tubes for public sale.

In 1926 after the agreements were finalized, RCA, GE, and Westinghouse joined forces and established the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). Fifty percent of the stock went to RCA, thirty percent to GE, and twenty percent to Westinghouse. The new company was divided into three divisions: the Red, Blue, and Pacific Networks. Independent, competing networks soon emerged. William S. Paley and his family formed the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1927. The Mutual Broadcasting System was formed in 1934.

By 1928 RCA had strong patent positions in all major areas of the radio industry, including the research, development and manufacture of vacuum tubes and speakers. Most small companies entering the industry in the 1920s produced their products based on prior research by others and on expired patents. An RCA license, therefore, was essential for the manufacture of any modern radio set or vacuum tube.

In the late 1920s new developments in the reproduction of sound, produced significant changes in the phonograph industry. Among those new developments were the introduction of the electronic record, and the marketing of the Radiola 104 Loudspeaker in 1926. In 1929 RCA purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company. This changed not only the quality but the sales of the phonograph and the phonograph record. A new entertainment industry was born and an ever-expanding market for consumer products was created with cultural implications that continue today.

Telefunken

German industrialists were eager to break the Marconi Company's monopoly. Although Marconi had patents on his inventions in Germany, the Germans developed a rival system through the Telefunken Corporation, incorporated in 1903, based on the inventions of Professor Ferdinand Braun, Dr. Rudolf Slaby, and Count George von Arco.

Before 1903 the Braun-Siemens and Halske system had been developed by Gesellschaft fur Drahtlose Telegraphie (GFDT). The Slaby-Arco system had been developed by Allgemeine Electrizitats-Gesellschaft. After litigation over patents, the German court handed down a decision in favor of the GFDT. The Kaiser, with national interests in mind, ordered that the rivalry cease. The two systems were amalgamated under GFDT, and became known as the Telefunken.

Chronology of Some Significant Events In The History of The Radio Industry

1895 -- Marconi experiments with Hertz's oscillator and Branley's coherer.

1897 -- In March Marconi demonstrates his wireless system on Salisbury Plain, near London, and files a complete patent specification. In May trials of Marconi's system are made over water between Lavernock and Flatholm, a distance of three miles. On May 13, communication is established between Lavernock Point and Brean Down, a distance of eight miles. German scientist Professor Slaby is present. The first Marconi station is erected at the Needles, Isle of Wight. A distance of fourteen and one-half miles is bridged by wireless. In December the Marconi station at the Needles communicates with a ship eighteen miles at sea.

1898 -- In England Oliver Lodge files a complete specification covering inventions in wireless telegraphy.

1899 -- The New York Herald uses Marconi's wireless telegraphy to report the progress of the International Yacht races between the Columbia and the Shamrock off New York harbor in September. US. Navy vessels make trials of Marconi's wireless telegraph system. The cruiser New York and the battleship Massachusetts are equipped with apparatus. Fessenden develops improvements in methods of wireless telegraph signaling.

1900 -- The Marconi International Marine Communication Company is organized on April 25th in London. Reginald Aubrey Fessenden begins work at the United States Weather Bureau. Over the next two years he invents the liquid barretter, an improved radio receiver.

1901 -- In February on board the SS Philadelphia, Marconi receives wireless signals over a distance of 1,551 miles. In March Marconi wireless telegraph service begins between islands of the Hawaiian group. On December 12, Marconi receives transatlantic signal at St. John's, Newfoundland from Poldhu, Cornwall, England. The Canadian government orders two Marconi telegraph sets for use at coastal points along the Strait of Belle Isle.

1901 -- Fessenden procures US patent no. 706737 for a system of radio signaling employing long waves (low frequency). De Forest develops a system of wireless telegraphy in Chicago. 1903-06 10,000 to 50,000 cycle machines, 1 kW, are developed by Steinmetz and by Alexanderson of GE for Fessenden. 1905 Marconi procures patent number 14788 in England, covering the invention of the horizontal directional antenna.

1906 -- At Brant Rock, Massachusetts, Fessenden employs a generator of one-half kW capacity, operating at 75,000 cycles, for radio purposes. He succeeds in telephoning a distance of eleven miles by means of wireless telephone apparatus.

1907 -- De Forest procures a U. S. patent for an audion amplifier of pulsating or alternating current.

1908 -- Marconi stations in Canada and England are opened for radio telegraph service across the Atlantic. Fessenden constructs a 70,000-cycle alternator with an output of 2.5 kW. at 225 volts, for radio signaling purposes. He reports successful radio telephone tests between Brant Rock and Washington, DC, a distance of 600 miles.

1909 -- US House of Representatives passes the Burke Bill for the compulsory use of radio telegraphy on certain classes of vessels. The United Wireless Telegraph Company and the Radio Telephone Company of New York (De Forest and Stone systems) begin the erection of radio stations in the Central and Western states. Marconi shares with Ferdinand Braun of Germany the Nobel prize in recognition of contributions in wireless telegraphy.

1910 -- An act of the US government requires radio equipment and operators on certain types of passenger ships. The Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Marconi station is opened in September. This station communicates with Clifden, Ireland. The transatlantic tariff is seventeen cents a word.

1911 -- A radio section is organized by the US Department of Commerce to enforce the provisions of national radio legislation. Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company acquires the Lodge-Muirhead patents.

1912 -- Rotary gap is used with Fessenden 100 kW 500 cycle spark set at NAA, the Navy's first high-power station at Arlington, Virginia. Marconi Wireless of America acquires property of the United Wireless Telegraph Company. British Marconi secures the important radio patents of Bellini and Tosi, Italian inventors. Wreck of the SS Titanic on April 15th. The act of 1910 is extended on July 23 to cover cargo vessels. requires an auxiliary source of power on ships and two or more skilled radio apparatus operators on certain types of passenger ships. On August 13, an act provides for licensing radio operators and transmitting stations.

1912-1913 -- High vacuum amplifying tubes (an improvement on De Forest's), using the findings of pure science, are produced almost simultaneously in two great industrial laboratories, by Dr. H. D. Arnold of AT&T and Irving Langmuir of GE.

1915 -- De Forest Ultra-audion three-step (cascade) audio amplifier is announced and introduced into practice.

1916 -- GE and the Western Electric Company develop the first experimental vacuum tube radiotelephone systems for the Navy.

1917-1918 -- First production of vacuum tubes in quantity, both coated filament and tungsten filament types, by Western Electric Company and GE.

1918 -- Lloyd Espenschied procures US patent number 1,256,889 for the invention of a duplex radio telegraph system. (See Lloyd Espenschied Papers, Archives Center, NMAH, Collection #13.) The House of Representatives passes a resolution on July 5, authorizing the President to take over management of telegraph and telephone systems due to war conditions.

1919 -- Bills are introduced in Congress for permanent government control of radio stations. The widespread resentment of amateurs has more to do with the defeat of these bills than the objections of commercial companies. Roy Alexander Weagant, New York, reports having developed means of reducing disturbances to radio reception caused by atmospherics or static. This is the first successful static-reducing system. GE purchases the holdings of the British Marconi Company in the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, the name of the latter company being changed to Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in October. Edward J. Nally is elected president of the new company.

1920 -- E. F. W. Alexanderson is appointed Chief Engineer of RCA. RCA begins the installation of 200-kW Alexanderson alternators at Bolinas, California, and Marion, Massachusetts. The Tropical Radio Telegraph Company, a subsidiary of the United Fruit Company, New York, operates ten long-distance radio stations at points in Central and South Americirca RCA purchases 6,000 acres at Rocky Point, Long Island, New York, and begins erection of a Radio Central station, comprising a number of operating units for communication with European stations and stations in South Americirca On May 15, RCA inaugurates radio telegraph services between installations at Chatham and Marion, Massachusetts, and stations at Stavanger and Jaerobe, Norway. Westinghouse Company's radio station KDKA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, broadcasts returns of the national elections, November 2. Development, design, and manufacture by GE of the early receiving and transmitting tubes made available to the public by RCA (UV-200,201,202). Radio telegraph stations and properties taken over by the government under war time powers are returned to their owners at midnight, February 29. The government calls for bids for the sale of large quantities of surplus radio and telegraph and telephone apparatus purchased for war needs and not used.

1921 -- RCA develops Vacuum tubes UV-200(detector) and UV-201(amplifier) -- both triodes with brass shells known as the UV base, and incorporating a filament that required 1 ampere at 5 volts for operation -- for storage battery operation; and at the same time also released to the public the WD-11 for dry cell operation, which employed an oxide-coated tungsten filament. RCA station at Rocky Point, Long Island, opens on November 5. WJZ station established by the Westinghouse Company in Newark, NJ. RCA broadcast station at Roselle Park, NJ (WDY) opens on December 15. It continues operation until February 15, 1922, when its operation is transferred to WJZ, Newark, previously owned by Westinghouse. RCA installs 200-kW alternator at Tuckerton, NJ.

1922 -- First use of tube transmitters by RCA for service from the United States to England and Germany. RCA begins substitution of tube transmitters on ships to replace spark sets. RCA begins replacement of crystal receivers by tube receivers on ships.

1923 -- Broadcast stations WJZ and WJY opened in New York in May by RCA. WRC opens in Washington on August 1. The UV-201A, receiving tubes developed by GE and consuming only 1/4 of an ampere are introduced by RCA. Tungsten filaments coated and impregnated with thorium were employed.

1924 -- Edwin H. Armstrong, demonstrates the superheterodyne receiver on March 6th. In November RCA experiments with radio photographs across the Atlantic. RCA markets the superheterodyne receivers for broadcast reception.

1925-26 -- Dynamic loudspeakers introduced. Magnetic pick-up phonograph recording and reproduction developed. RCA opens radio circuit to Dutch East Indies. Direction-finders introduced on ships.

1927 -- Fully self-contained AC radio receivers introduced.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Smithsonian in 1959.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.

Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs, negatives, and slides.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Radio engineers -- 1880-1950  Search this
Electric engineers -- 1880-1950  Search this
Radio -- History  Search this
Electricity -- 1880-1950  Search this
Communication -- 1880-1950  Search this
Genre/Form:
Technical manuals -- Electrical equipment
Clippings
Patents
Correspondence -- 1930-1950
Blueprints
Letters patent
Photographs -- 1850-1900
Sale catalogs -- Electrical equipment -- 1880-1950
Technical drawings
Photographs -- 1900-1950
Citation:
George H. Clark Radioana Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0055
See more items in:
George H. Clark Radioana Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0055
Online Media:

S. Joseph Begun Papers

Creator:
Begun, S. Joseph (Semi Joseph), 1905-1995  Search this
Extent:
21 Cubic feet (46 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Memorandums
Patents
Personal papers
Photographs
Business records
Professional papers
Reports
Speeches
Awards
Biography files
Correspondence
Date:
1888-2000
bulk 1927-1995
Summary:
Semi Joseph Begun was a pioneer in magnetic recording. The papers document Begun's professional career in the field of magnetic recording.
Scope and Contents:
The S. Joseph Begun papers contain correspondence, memoranda, patents, printed matter, reports, speeches and writings, awards, biographical materials, and autobiographical and historical material documenting the life and career of S. Joseph Begun.

Series 1: Personal Papers, 1927-1998, is arranged alphabetically by general subject and contains materials related to Begun's education, biographical files and obituaries, and awards.

Series 2: Professional Files, 1924-1992, is organized in general chronological order. Following broad subdivisions covering his early activities in Germany and America, these materials are grouped by corporate affiliation: Brush, the National Defense Research Committee, Clevite, Gould, Science and Management, Inc., and Auctor Associates, Inc. It should be noted that Begun's involvement with various organizations often overlaps; his continuous employment with Brush, Clevite, and Gould means that similar letterheads may be found under different corporate bodies.

Series 3: Writings and Speeches, 1930-1988, documents Begun's publications and presentations, and includes drafts, correspondence, programs, printed matter, magazines, and reprints. It should be stressed that this series is not a bibliography. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series 4: Autobiographical and Historical Materials, 1888, 1930-2000, reflects Begun's efforts in his last years to write his autobiography. He wrote drafts, interviewed former co-workers such as Al Dank and Otto Kornei from the Brush Development Company, and accumulated a considerable number of articles and other materials on the history of magnetic recording. Additional materials include a copy of Begun's autobiography, My Years in Magnetic Recording: Dr. Semi Joseph Begun, as edited by Dr. Mark Clark.
Arrangement:
The collection is organized into four series.

Series 1: Personal Papers, 1927-1998

Subseries 1, Academic Records, 1927-1933

Subseries 2, Awards, 1929-1994, undated

Subseries 3, Biographical files, circa 1935-1994; 1998

Subseries 4, Correspondence, 1946-1992

Subseries 5, Diary fragments, 1969-1970

Subseries 6, Wire Recorder, 1983-1994

Subseries 7, Financial Records, 1960

Subseries 8, Obituaries, 1995

Subseries 9, Photographs, circa 1940s-1987

Series 2: Professional Files, 1924-1992

Subseries 1, Early Career in Germany, 1929-1949

Subseries 2, Early Career in America, 1935-1948

Subseries 3, Brush Development Company, 1936-1960s

Subseries 4, National Defense Research Committee, 1942-1948

Subseries 5, Electro-Sonic Laboratories, Inc., circa, 1924, 1938, 1953-1962

Subseries 6, Clevite, 1952-1979

Subseries 7, Gould, Inc., 1968-1989

Subseries 8, Science and Management, Inc., circa, 1969-1970

Subseries 9, Auctor Associates, Inc., circa, 1968-1992

Series 3: Writings and Speeches, 1930-1988

Series 4: Autobiographical and Historical Materials, 1888 (bulk 1930-2000)
Biographical / Historical:
Semi Joseph Begun, a pioneer in magnetic recording, was born in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland) on December 2, 1905. He earned an M.S. in Engineering in 1929 and a doctorate in 1933 from the Institute of Technology in Berlin for work related to magnetic recording. In 1929, he began working for Schuchhardt A.G., where he designed the first commercially successful magnetic recorder. Later, he worked for Echophon A.G. and C. Lorenz A.G., where he designed the first magnetic tape recorder for use by the German Broadcasting System. Begun emigrated to America in 1935 and worked in New York City both for the Guided Radio Corporation and independently. He and Sidney Wolf formed two companies Acoustic Consultants and Magnetone, a holding company for Begun's patents. In 1938, he joined the Brush Development Company in Cleveland, Ohio. During World War II, Begun served as a member of the National Defense Research Committee. After the war, he wrote Magnetic Recording (1949), the first textbook on the subject. In 1952, the Brush Development Company merged with the Cleveland Graphite Bronze Company to form the Clevite Corporation. Begun held several executive positions at Clevite, including Director of Advanced Development and Vice President for International Operations. He was a member of Clevite's Board of Directors and assisted in the merger between Clevite and Gould National Battery in 1968. In 1969, Begun formed Science Management, Inc., (SMI) to serve investment groups and other interested clients with the evaluation of new and existing products and to appraise management ability of new ventures with high technology products. In 1971, Begun founded Auctor Associates, Inc., a consulting firm focused on high technology markets. In 1983, he founded the Society for Prevention of Violence, a non-profit educational organization. Begun held over 50 patents and was the recipient of numerous professional awards. He died in Cleveland on January 5, 1995.
Provenance:
The bulk of the collection was donated by the widow of S. Joseph Begun, Mrs. Ruth W. Begun, in July 1995.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Magnetic recorders and recording  Search this
Genre/Form:
Memorandums
Patents
Personal papers -- 20th century
Photographs -- 20th century
Business records -- 20th century
Professional papers
Reports
Speeches
Awards
Biography files
Correspondence -- 20th century
Citation:
S. Joseph Begun Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0535
See more items in:
S. Joseph Begun Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0535
Online Media:

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers

Creator:
Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt, 1875-1942  Search this
Names:
American Ambulance Field Hospital (Juilly, France)  Search this
Greenwich House (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Whitney Museum of American Art  Search this
Whitney Studio Club  Search this
Cushing, Howard Gardiner, 1869-1916  Search this
De Meyer, Adolf, Baron, 1868-1949  Search this
Miller, Flora Whitney  Search this
Strelecki, Jean de, count  Search this
Watson, Forbes, 1880-1960  Search this
Whitney, Harry Payne, 1872-1930  Search this
Extent:
36.1 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Lithographs
Photographs
Interviews
Sketchbooks
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Blueprints
Sketches
Date:
1851-1975
bulk 1888-1942
Summary:
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers measure approximately 36.1 linear feet and date from 1851 to 1975, with the bulk of the material dating from 1888 to 1942. The collection documents the life and work of the art patron and sculptor, especially her promotion of American art and artists, her philanthropy and war relief work, her commissions for memorial sculpture, and her creative writing. Papers include correspondence, journals, writings, project files, scrapbooks, photographs, artwork, printed material, two sound recordings, and miscellaneous personal papers.
Scope and Content Note:
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers measure approximately 36.1 linear feet and date from 1851 to 1975, with the bulk of the material dating from 1888 to 1942. The collection documents the life and work of the art patron and sculptor, especially her promotion of American art and artists, her philanthropy and war relief work, her commissions for memorial sculpture, and her creative writing. Papers include correspondence, journals, writings, project files, scrapbooks, photographs, artwork, printed material, two sound recordings, and miscellaneous personal papers.

Material relating to more personal aspects of Whitney's life include school papers, a paper doll book dating from her childhood, financial material, interviews, awards and honorary degrees, address and telephone books, committee files, and other items. Correspondence consists of incoming and outgoing letters concerning both personal and professional matters, including her patronage of the arts and sponsorship of artists, her sculpture commissions and exhibitions, and her war relief work and other philantrophic activities. Also found are family correspondence and correspondence received by the Flora Whitney Miller and the Whitney Museum of American Art after Whitney's death. Journals include personal ones that she kept periodically from the time she was a child to near the end of her life, in which she recorded her travels, her impressions of people, her experiences with friends, and her thoughts on art, among other topics; and social ones, in which she recorded dinners and dances attended, and people invited to different social gatherings, and in which she collected invitations received and accepted.

Scattered files can be found that relate to the Whitney Studio Club and the Whitney Museum of American Art, consisting of notebooks, catalogs, a financial report, and other material. Files relating to Whitney's own sculpture projects are more extensive and consist of correspondence, contracts, printed material, notes, financial material for proposed and completed commissions for fountains, memorials, and monuments. The Whitney Museum of American Art, rather than Whitney herself, seems to have kept these files. Files relating to Whitney's philanthropic activities span from the time just before to just after the First World War and consist of correspondence, minutes, reports, and printed material stemming from her contributions to charities and war relief organizations, her sponsorship of the war hospital in Juilly, France, and her support of the Greenwich House Social Settlement.

Whitney's writings include extensive drafts, and handwritten and typed manuscripts and copies of novels, plays, and stories, as well as some autobiographical and early writings, notes and writings on art, and clippings of published writings, documenting her principle means of creative expression towards the end of her life. Also found are some writings by others. Scrapbooks consist of clippings, photographs, letters and other material, compiled by Whitney, Flora Whitney Miller, and possibly others, documenting Whitney's public life, her sculpture commissions and exhibitions, exhibitions at the Whitney Studio, the war hospital in Juilly, France, the death of Harry Payne Whitney in 1930, and the sickness and death of Whitney in 1942.

Photographs include ones of the Whitney and Vanderbilt families, ones of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (including portraits taken by Baron Adolf de Meyer and Count Jean de Strelecki), ones of various Vanderbilt and Whitney residences and of Whitney's studios, ones of Whitney's sculpture exhibitions as well as exhibitions at her studio, and ones of her sculptures, as well as some miscellaneous and unidentified ones. Artwork consists of sketchbooks and sketches by Whitney (including sketches for sculptures) and artwork by others (including a sketchbook of Howard Cushing's containing a sketch of her and albums of World War I lithographs) collected by Whitney. Also found amongst the collection are printed material (clippings, exhibition catalogs, programs, and publications) and blueprints (including drawings for Whitney's studio on MacDougal Alley and various of her sculptures).
Arrangement:
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers are arranged into twelve series:

Series 1: Miscellaneous Personal Papers, 1888-1947, 1975 (Boxes 1-3, 33-34, OV 42; 2.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1889-1949, 1959 (Boxes 3-9; 6 linear feet)

Series 3: Journals, circa 1886-1939 (Boxes 9-12, 33; 2.5 linear feet)

Series 4: Whitney Studio Club and Whitney Museum of American Art Files, 1921-1943 (Box 12; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 5: Sculpture Files, 1900-1960 (bulk 1909-1942) (Boxes 12-15; 3 linear feet)

Series 6: Philanthropy Files, 1902-1923 (bulk 1915-1920) (Boxes 15-17; 2 linear feet)

Series 7: Writings, 1889-1942, 1974 (Boxes 17-26; 10 linear feet)

Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1893-1942 (Boxes 26-27, 33, 35; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 9: Printed Material, 1859-1942 (Boxes 27-28, 36; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 10: Photographs, 1862-1942 (Boxes 28-32, 36-41, OV 43-51; 6.4 linear feet)

Series 11: Artwork, 1871-1930s (Boxes 32, 41, OV 52-54; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 12: Blueprints, 1913-1945 (OV 55; 0.1 linear feet)
Biographical/Historical note:
New York art patron and sculptor, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942), was the eldest daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt II and Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt, and founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Whitney was born January 9, 1875 in New York City, the. She was educated by private tutors and attended Brearley School in New York. From the time she was a young girl, she kept journals of her travels and impressions of the people she met, and engaged in creative pursuits such as sketching and writing stories. In 1896, she was married to Harry Payne Whitney. They had three children, Flora, Cornelius, and Barbara.

In 1900, Whitney began to study sculpture under Hendrik Christian Anderson, and then under James Fraser. Later, she studied with Andrew O'Connor in Paris. From the time she started studying sculpture, her interest in art grew, as did her particular concern for American art and artists. In 1907, she organized an art exhibition at the Colony Club, which included several contemporary American paintings. She also opened a studio on MacDougal Alley, which became known as the Whitney Studio and was a place where shows and prize competitions were held. (She also had other studios in Westbury, Long Island and Paris, France.) Over the years, her patronage of art included buying work, commissioning it, sponsoring it, exhibiting it, and financially supporting artists in America and abroad. From 1911 on, she was aided in her work by Juliana Force, who started out as Whitney's secretary, was responsible for art exhibitions at the Whitney Studio, and became the first director of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The first recognition Whitney received for her sculpture came in 1908 when a project on which she had collaborated (with Grosvenor Atterbury and Hugo Ballin) won a prize for best design from the Architectural League of New York. The following year she received a commission to do a fountain sculpture for the Pan-American Building in Washington, D. C. She went on to do numerous other commissioned works over the next several decades, including: a fountain for the New Arlington Hotel in Washington D.C. (the design of which was reproduced in various sizes and materials, one cast being submitted to the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition where it won a bronze medal and a later cast being installed on the campus of McGill University, Montreal, Canada in 1930); the Titanic Memorial (designed in 1913 and erected in 1930); the Buffalo Bill Memorial (1924) in Cody, Wyoming; the Columbus Memorial (1929) in Port of Palos, Spain; the Peter Stuyvesant statue in Stuyvesant Square (1939); and The Spirit of Flight (1939) for the New York World's Fair. In 1916, she had her first one-man show at the Whitney Studio, another at the Newport Art Association, and a retrospective at the San Francisco Art Association Palace of Fine Arts. A traveling exhibition in the Midwest followed in 1918.

During the First World War, Whitney was involved with numerous war relief activities, most notably establishing and supporting a hospital in Juilly, France. She made several trips to France during the war, keeping a journal and eventually publishing a piece on the hospital in several newspapers. Her sculpture during this period was largely focused on war themes. In 1919, she exhibited some of these works at the Whitney Studio in a show called "Impressions of War." In the years after the war, she was also commissioned to do several war memorials, including the Washington Heights War Memorial (1922) and the St. Nazaire Memorial (1926) commemmorating the landing of the American Expeditionary Force in France in 1917.

In 1918, Whitney opened the Whitney Studio Club, which served as pioneering organization for American art, putting on exhibition programs and offering social space and recreational amenities to its members (one point numbering over four hundred artists living in New York). She planned an "Overseas Exhibition" of American art, which traveled to Paris and other European cities in 1920-1921, and had her own shows in Paris and London in 1921. In 1928, the Whitney Studio Club was transformed into an art gallery, known as the Whitney Studio Galleries and directed by Juliana Force, which eventually became the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1931.

Whitney pursued creative writing throughout her life, but beginning in the 1930s writing became her principle means of creative expression. Over the years, she produced numerous manuscripts for stories, novels, and play. One novel, Walking the Dusk, was published in 1932 under the pseudonym L. J. Webb. Beginning in 1940, Whitney took a "Professional Writing" course at Columbia University with Helen Hull, which resulted in the production of numerous short stories. In 1941, she collaborated with Ronald Bodley to adapt one of her stories as a play and attempted to get it produced, although unsuccessfully.

In 1934, Whitney was involved in a custody battle for her niece, Gloria Vanderbilt (daughter of her late brother, Reginald Vanderbilt and his wife, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt). In an agreement reached by the court, custody was awarded to Whitney and visitation rights to Gloria's mother. Litigation continued in the ensuing years.

In 1935, Whitney established the World's Fair Five Organization, with Juliana Force and four architects, to work on preparing a plan for the site of the 1939 New York World's Fair at Flushing Meadow, although the fair's own Board of Design ended up coming up with its own plan.

Whitney continued her work in sculpture, writing, art patronage, and philanthropy throughout the remaining years of her life. She died on April 18, 1942.
Related Archival Materials note:
Related material found in the Archives includes Research Material on Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney compiled by Flora Miller Irving and the Whitney Museum of American Art artists' files and records, available on microfilm only (originals are located in the Whitney Museum of American Art). Also found in the Archives of American Art's Miscellaneous Exhibition Catalog Collection are a bundle of Whitney Studio Club and Mrs. H. P. Whitney's Studio catalogs and announcements.
Provenance:
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers were donated in 1981 and 1991 by Whitney's granddaughter, Flora Miller Irving.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Occupation:
Philanthropists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Art patrons -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
World War, 1914-1918 -- Hospitals -- France  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Lithographs
Photographs
Interviews
Sketchbooks
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Blueprints
Sketches
Citation:
Whitney Museum of American Art, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Papers, 1851-1975 (bulk 1888-1942). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.whitgert
See more items in:
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-whitgert
Online Media:

Elihu Vedder papers

Creator:
Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923  Search this
Names:
Vedder, Caroline Rosekrans  Search this
Extent:
9.2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Diaries
Date:
1804-1969
bulk 1840-1923
Summary:
The papers of painter and illustrator Elihu Vedder measure approximately 9.2 linear feet and date from 1804-1969, with the bulk of the material dating from 1840-1923. The collection documents Vedder's personal life and work. Best known for his illustrations of the 1884 edition of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Vedder's papers include correspondence, writings, diaries, photographs, a limited number of drawings, books and printed material, legal and financial papers, and scattered personal and family papers.
Scope and Content Note:
The Elihu Vedder papers measure approximately 9.2 linear feet and date from 1804 to 1969, with the bulk of the material dating from 1840 to 1923. The collection documents the life and work of the painter and illustrator, who was perhaps best known for his illustrations of the 1884 edition of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Papers include correspondence, writings, diaires, photographs, a limited number of drawings, books and printed material, legal and financial papers, and scattered personal and family papers.

Correspondence consists of incoming and drafts of outgoing letters concerning both personal and professional matters. The majority of the business correspondence was written by Vedder's wife, Caroline R. Vedder, on his behalf and documents the sale and exhibition of Vedder's work, commissions for paintings, and his illustrations for books. Also found is corresondence between and amongst various members of Vedder's immediate and extended family (including early letters between his parents, Elizabeth and Elihu Vedder, Sr.), and between Caroline R. Vedder and her immediate family (including her mother, sisters, and nieces).

Writings consist of drafts, manuscripts, typescripts, and illustrations for various books that Vedder wrote late in his career after he had stopped painting, and for various other poems, essays, and stories, as well as some writings by others. Also found are several diaries belonging to Vedder and Caroline R. Vedder, which record some of the daily activities and travels of Vedder and his wife. Photographs include ones of Vedder, his studio, his friends and family, and his artwork, as well as ones of various residences, from various trips, and of an unidentified exhibition of Vedder's work. Drawings include a study for "The Rubaiyat" and "The Artist's Daughter," along with scattered sketches, plans, and bookplates. Also found are copies of Vedder's published books, and clippings, catalogs, art reproductions, and other printed material.

Also in the collection are scattered legal papers (wills, deeds, and agreements of various family members), finanical papers (such as receipts and statements), notes on family history and other family papers, miscellaney, and numerous annotated envelopes and enclosures that once housed some of Vedder's papers.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as seven series:

Series 1: Miscellaneous Personal Papers, 1811-1938 (Boxes 1, 10; 1.0 linear foot)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1804-1951 (Boxes 2-5; 3.6 linear feet)

Series 3: Diaries, 1878-1890 (Box 5; 0.1 linear feet)

Series 4: Writings, 1848-1923, 1969 (Boxes 5-7, 10; 1.7 linear feet)

Series 5: Books and Printed Material, 1864-1939 (Boxes 7-8; 0.9 linear feet)

Series 6: Drawings, 1888-1912 (Box 8, OV 12; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 7: Photographs, 1840s-1920s (Boxes 8-9, 11, OV 13; 1.5 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Elihu Vedder was born in New York in 1836. He grew up in Cuba, where his father worked as a dentist, and on his grandfather's farm in Brooklyn. He was educated in boarding schools and by tutors, and showed an interest in drawing at an early age. He began his formal training with T. H. Matteson in New York, and went on to study with Francois-Edouard Picot in Paris and Raffaello Bonaiuti in Florence.

After studying in Europe for several years, Vedder returned to the U.S. in 1860 and settled in New York, where he worked as a commercial illustrator during the Civil War. In 1864, he was one of the artists who illustrated the first American edition of Tennyson's Enoch Arden, which was published by Ticknor and Fields. During this time, he became associated with a bohemian group of artists and writers that regularly met at Pfaff's coffee shop. Some of the earliest exhibitions of his work took place at the annual spring exhibits at the National Academy of Design from 1863 to 1865. He became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1865. After the war he returned to Europe, eventually settling permanently in Italy.

In 1869 Vedder married Elizabeth Caroline Beach Rosekrans (Carrie). They lived in Rome, where Vedder earned his living by undertaking commissioned work (what he termed "duty painting") while also producing paintings on original themes and subjects, such as The Cumaean Sibyl (1875-1878) which became one of his most celebrated paintings. Vedder's wife aided him in his work by cultivating patrons and carrying out all the business correspondence. Over the years he exhibited his work in London, Paris, New York and Boston (where it was especially well-received). While achieving a certain degree of success, he struggled throughout his career to make a living as an artist.

Vedder also carried out work on commission, designing covers for Century Magazine in 1881 and illustrations for various other publications such as Harper's. He experimented in other decorative arts also, designing glass ringwork, firebacks, and tiles; apart from some commissions for glass work from Tiffany's, these other projects never really got off the ground.

Vedder made his biggest contribution to American commercial art in 1884 with his illustrations of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Exhibitions of the original drawings followed, which were well-attended by the public; he also painted and sold several pictures from the Rubaiyat drawings. In the 1890s he undertook several mural projects, including ones for the Walker Art Building at Bowdoin College and the Library of Congress.

In the early 1900s, Vedder built a villa on the island of Capri, where he spent the summers and falls while continuing to live the rest of the year in Rome. From this point on, he didn't undertake any new major paintings, but instead turned to writing and illustrating books of autobiography and verse. His books include The Digressions of V (1910), Miscellaneous Moods (1915), and Doubt and Other Things (1922).

Vedder died on January 29, 1923, at the age of 87.

This biographical note draws from Regina Soria's biography, Elihu Vedder: American Visionary Artist in Rome (Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1970).
Related Material:
Related material found in the Archives of American Art includes 3 letters written by Elihu Vedder that comprise a small collection donated by Charles E. Feinberg.
Separated Material:
Four originals drawings (filmed on Reel 671: 608-610 and 612) were returned to the donor and are not described in the Container Listing.
Provenance:
The bulk of the collection was donated in 1962-1964 by Lawrence Fleischman and Harold Love (who bought the papers in 1926 from Mrs. Nadia Tomassi, a Vedder family friend who had held the papers since Vedder's death in 1923). Several books were donated by Irving Burton in 1964 and 1977. Some correspondence, writings, notes, and printed material were donated in 1981 by Mrs. John Breck.
Restrictions:
The bulk of this collection has been digitized. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Elihu Vedder papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Illustrators -- Italy -- Rome  Search this
Painters -- Italy -- Rome  Search this
Painting, Modern -- 19th century -- Italy -- Rome  Search this
Artists' writings  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Diaries
Citation:
Elihu Vedder papers, 1804-1969 (bulk 1840-1923). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.veddelih
See more items in:
Elihu Vedder papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-veddelih
Online Media:

Alma Thomas papers

Creator:
Thomas, Alma  Search this
Names:
Art in Embassies Program (U.S.)  Search this
Martha Jackson Gallery  Search this
Bader, Franz, 1903-1994  Search this
Breeskin, Adelyn Dohme, 1896-1986  Search this
Johnson, Nathalie J. Cole  Search this
Sarg, Tony, 1882-1942  Search this
Tarbary, Celine  Search this
Taylor, Joshua Charles, 1917-  Search this
Thomas, J. Maurice (John Maurice), 1900 or 1901-  Search this
Extent:
5.5 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scrapbooks
Audiocassettes
Video recordings
Photographs
Date:
circa 1894-2001
Summary:
The papers of Washington, D.C. painter and art educator Alma Thomas, date from circa 1894-2001 and measure 5.5 linear feet. The papers document Thomas's work as a teacher, and her development and success as a painter of the Washington Color School, through biographical material, letters, notes and writings, personal business records, exhibition files, printed materials, scrapbooks, photographs, an audio recording, and two video recordings.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of Washington, D.C. painter and art educator Alma Thomas, date from circa 1894-2001 and measure 5.5 linear feet. The papers document Thomas's work as a teacher, and her development and success as a painter of the Washington Color School, through biographical material, letters, notes and writings, personal business records, exhibition files, printed materials, scrapbooks, photographs, an audio recording, and two video recordings.

Biographical material includes identity cards, chronologies, an audio recording including a biographical account, and scattered documentation of Thomas's education and teaching careers with D.C. Public Schools, Howard University, and Thomas Garrett Settlement in Wilmington, Delaware. Also found are records relating to Thomas's participation in a summer marionette class taught by Tony Sarg in 1934, and a tour of European art centers which Thomas took in 1958.

Letters relate primarily to the exhibition of Thomas's work and related events and are from galleries, museums, other art institutions, colleagues, and friends including Franz Bader, Adelyn Breeskin, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Howard University Gallery of Art, Martha Jackson Gallery, Nathalie J. Cole Johnson, Vincent Melzac, Celine Tabary, and Joshua Taylor.

Notes and writings include four notebooks and autobiographical writings by Thomas, a "Birthday Book," and an annotated engagement calendar. J. Maurice Thomas's writings about Alma Thomas, her research for a bibliography on James Weldon Johnson, and writings by others, including Jacob Kainen, about Alma Thomas, are also found here.

Exhibition files contain a wide variety of documentation for many group and solo exhibitions of Thomas's work from the early 1950s through a 1998-2000 traveling retrospective exhibition, including solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1972. The records include letters from Franz Bader Gallery, David Driskell at Fisk University, and Vincent Melzac. Photographs include Thomas with individuals including William Buckner, Jeff Donaldson, David Driskell, James W. Herring, and Vincent Melzac. Also found is a photograph of the 1951 Little Paris Studio Group picturing Lois Mailou Jones, Celine Tabary, Alma Thomas, and others. Two video recordings are of events related to the 1998-2000 retrospective at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the Columbus Museum of Art. Records documenting a 1981-1982 exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, A Life in Art: Alma Thomas, includes the script of a video written by Adolphus Ealey.

Personal business records include price lists, gift and loan receipts, and files concerning the Art in Embassies Program, the Martha Jackson Gallery, a benefit auction for the Corcoran School of Art, and the designation of the Thomas family home in Washington, D.C. as a historic property.

Eleven scrapbooks document Thomas's teaching career through the activities of the art classes she taught at Shaw Junior High School.

Printed materials include announcements and catalogs for exhibitions and other events; clippings which document Thomas's career and subjects of interest to her; Christmas cards featuring block prints designed by Thomas; and other programs and publications featuring Thomas.

Photographs are of Alma Thomas, family, and friends and colleagues including Sam Gilliam, James V. Herring, and Nathalie V. Cole Johnson; art classes taught by Thomas; Thomas's homes in Columbus, Georgia and Washington, D.C.; and exhibitions not documented in Series 4: Exhibition Files, including photographs of Alma Thomas at an opening at Barnett Aden Gallery with Alonzo Aden and others.
Arrangement note:
The papers have been arranged into 8 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1911-2001 (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Letters, circa 1930-2001 (Boxes 1-2; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 3: Notes and Writings, circa 1920s-circa 1998 (Box 2; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1951-2000 (Boxes 2-3, OV 7; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 5: Personal Business Records, circa 1950s-1994 (Box 3; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 6: Printed Material, circa 1908-2000 (Boxes 3-5, OV 7; 1.8 linear feet)

Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1930-1946 (Box 5; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 8: Photographs, circa 1894-2001 (Boxes 5-6; 0.6 linear feet)
Biographical/Historical note:
Washington, D.C. painter and art educator Alma Thomas (1891-1978) was known for her abstract paintings filled with dense patterns of color, and was considered a major artist of the Washington Color School.

Thomas was born in Columbus, Georgia, in 1894, and was the eldest of the four daughters of John Harris Thomas and Amelia Cantey Thomas. The family moved to Washington, D.C. in 1906 and Thomas was first introduced to art classes at Armstrong Technical High School. Following her graduation in 1911 she took a course in kindergarten teaching at the Miner Normal School, and subsequently worked as a substitute teacher in the Washington, D.C. public school system until 1914, when she took a teaching position on the Eastern shore of Maryland. From 1916 to 1923 she taught kindergarten at Thomas Garrett Settlement House in Wilmington, Delaware.

Thomas originally enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C. as a home economics major in 1921, but after studying under Lois Mailou Jones amd James V. Herring in Herring's newly established art department, she earned a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art in 1924, and became the first person to graduate from the program. Thomas then began her teaching career at Shaw Junior High School in Washington, D.C. that lasted from 1924, until her retirement in 1960. During this time she established community arts programs that would encourage her students to develop an appreciation of fine arts. Activities included marionette programs, distribution of student-designed holiday menu cards for dinners given for soldiers at the Tuskegee Veterans' Hospital, art clubs, lectures, and student exhibitions. In 1943 she became the founding vice president of Barnett Aden Gallery, which was established by James V. Herring and Alonzo Aden and was the first integrated gallery in Washington, D.C.

In 1934 Thomas earned an M.A. degree in Art Education from Columbia University. At American University in Washington, D.C., she studied creative painting under Joe Summerford, Robert Gates, and Jacob Kainen from 1950 to 1960, and began to break away from representational painting and experiment more seriously with Abstract Expressionism. In 1958 she participated in a tour of the art centers of Western Europe under the auspices of the Tyler School of Fine Arts at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Following her retirement from teaching in 1960, Thomas devoted herself full-time to painting, and continued to develop her signature style. She was inspired by nature and the desire to express beauty through composition and color, and refused to be constrained by societal expectations related to her race, gender, and age, achieving her greatest success in the last decade of her life. Her work was exhibited at the Dupont Theatre Art Gallery, Franz Bader Gallery, and the Howard University Gallery of Art, before she was honored in 1972 with exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Thomas's work has been exhibited at the White House and can be found in the permanent collections of major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Separated Materials note:
In 1979, J. Maurice Thomas loaned papers for microfilming. Most, but not all, of the loaned material was later donated and is described in this finding aid. Loaned materials not donated at a later date are available on reels 1541-1543 and are not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Provenance:
J. Maurice Thomas, the artist's sister, loaned portions of the collection for microfilming in 1979. Most, but not all of this material was then later donated in several accretions by J. Maurice Thomas, between 1979 and 2004. Charles Thomas Lewis, Thomas' nephew, gave additional papers in 2010.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Alma Thomas papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Occupation:
Painters -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Educators -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Topic:
Painting, American  Search this
African American artists  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Washington Color School (Group of artists)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Audiocassettes
Video recordings
Photographs
Citation:
Alma Thomas papers, circa 1894-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.thomalma
See more items in:
Alma Thomas papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-thomalma
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Polly Thayer (Starr) papers

Creator:
Thayer, Polly, 1904-2006  Search this
Names:
Copley Society (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Friends General Conference (U.S.)  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
Nucleus Club (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Trustees of Reservations (Mass.)  Search this
Vose Galleries of Boston  Search this
Abramson, Doris E.  Search this
Cortissoz, Royal, 1869-1948  Search this
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Koval, Dorothy  Search this
Sarton, May, 1912-  Search this
Starr, Donald C.  Search this
Thayer, Ethel Randolph, 1870-1953  Search this
Thayer, Ezra Ripley, 1866-1915  Search this
Tudor, Tasha  Search this
Wheelwright, John, 1897-1940  Search this
Yarnall, Agnes  Search this
Extent:
21.6 Linear feet
0.807 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Photographs
Sound recordings
Sketchbooks
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Video recordings
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Date:
1846-2008
bulk 1921-2008
Summary:
The papers of Boston portraitist and painter Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) measure 21.6 linear feet and 0.807 GB and date from 1846 to 2008, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-2008. The papers document Thayer's personal life and career as a painter, portraitist, and pastel artist. Found within the papers are biographical materials, extensive family papers, correspondence with artists and art venues, interviews, writings, subject files, organization files, exhibition files, art inventory records, printed and digital materials, five sketchbooks, artwork, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Boston portraitist and painter Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) measure 21.6 linear feet and 0.807 GB and date from 1846 to 2008, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-2008. The papers document Thayer's personal life and career as a painter, portraitist, and pastel artist. Found within the papers are biographical materials, extensive family papers, correspondence with artists and art venues, interviews, writings, subject files, organization files, exhibition files, art inventory records, printed and digital materials, five sketchbooks, artwork, and photographs.

Biographical material includes a marriage certificate, school records, inventories of possessions, passports, files about the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake in Japan, and a few personal and scattered financial documents such as invoices and receipts for various art related expenses.

Extensive family papers on many of Polly Thayer's immediate and extended family members include obituaries, condolence letters, writings, and printed materials. The most voluminous files are about Polly Thayer's husband Donald Carter Starr, her mother Ethel Randolph Thayer, and her father Ezra Ripley Thayer.

There is limited correspondence with friends and and colleagues, including Royal Cortissoz, Philip Hofer, Tasha Tudor (photocopies), Dorothy Koval, the curator who wrote about Thayer for her first show at Vose Galleries in 2001, as well as two art consultants who helped Thayer inventory her artwork. The bulk of the correspondence is with museums, galleries, and other venues such as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Copley Society of Boston, and Vose Galleries.

Interviews with Polly Thayer include transcripts as well as sound and video recordings. There is also a sound recording of poet and professor Doris Abramson discussing Catherine Sargent Huntington.

Writings include typescript and handwritten drafts of essays, notebooks, and notes on assorted topics. The bulk of the material was written by Thayer, with a few writings by others.

Subject files are found for people and general interests. The "People" files are collected documents about Thayer's friends, colleagues, artists, and portrait subjects. The files include short biographies, articles, obituaries, a few photographs, two videocassettes and one sound recording. The most voluminous files are on Francis DeLancey Cunningham, the Howe family, Rose Nichols, May Sarton, John Brooks Wheelwright, and Agnes Yarnall. Thayer's "Interests" files consist of articles and clippings on various topics such as animals, humor, and pacifism.

Organization files contain materials related to Polly Thayer's charitable contributions, club memberships and affiliations, including The Chilton Club, Nucleus Club, Religious Society of Friends, and Trustees of Reservations, among others. These files contain seven sound recordings.

Exhibition files contain exhibition catalogs, reviews, clippings, notes, inventory price lists, and other materials about Thayer's solo and group shows.

Art inventory records consist of dismantled binders of inventories that also include photographs of artwork and descriptive information such as the title, medium, and dimensions. There are also photographic inventories of works of art arranged by subject, and several partial art inventories.

Printed materials include two scrapbooks compiled by Polly Thayer's mother containing articles about Thayer, magazines, journals, exhibition catalogs, brochures, exhibition invitations, postcards, clippings, and miscellaneous materials. Digital materials consist of inventories and digitized audio interviews.

Five sketchbooks include figure drawings, portrait sketches, and landscape sketches. Also found are loose drawings of animals, landscapes, and people.

Disbound binders of photographs contain images of works of art that are grouped by subject, including portraits, landscapes, and "mystical/flowers/animals," as well as personal photographs of Polly Thayer and family members, houses, social events, pets, and friends. There is one small disbound photograph album of houses and properties.
Arrangement:
The Polly Thayer papers were organized and inventoried by curator Dorothy Koval and other art consultants prior to arriving at the Archives of American Art, and most likely do not reflect the original order by Polly Thayer. The Archives has maintained the arrangement imposed by Koval for the bulk of the papers. This collection is arranged as 13 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1921-2007 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1, 22, 0.582 GB; ER01-ER02)

Series 2: Family Files, 1846-2006 (2 linear feet; Box 1-3, 22)

Series 3: Correspondence, 1929-2008 (1.3 linear feet; Box 3-5)

Series 4: Interviews, 1995-2004 (0.2 linear feet; Box 5, 0.196 GB; ER03)

Series 5: Writings, 1922-2006 (1.7 linear feet; Box 5-6)

Series 6: Subject Files, circa 1900-2008 (3.3 linear feet; Box 7-10)

Series 7: Organization Files, 1931-2008 (1 linear feet; Box 10-11, 0.029 GB; ER04)

Series 8: Exhibition Files, 1928-2006 (1.9 linear feet; Box 11-13)

Series 9: Art Inventory, circa 1940-1999 (4.6 linear feet; Box 13-17)

Series 10: Printed Material, 1900-2006 (1.8 linear feet; Box 17-19, 22)

Series 11: Sketchbooks, 1930-circa 1970 (0.3 linear feet; Box 19, 23)

Series 12: Artwork, 1927-circa 1990 (0.4 linear feet; Box 19, 23, OV 25)

Series 13: Photographs, 1898-2006 (2.1 linear feet; Box 19-21, 24)
Biographical / Historical:
Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) was a Boston painter of portraits, landscapes, and still lifes.

Ethel Randolph Thayer, known as Polly, was born in Boston in 1904, the daughter of Professor Ezra Ripley Thayer, also Dean of the Harvard Law School, and Ethel Randolph Thayer, née Clark. Thayer began her drawing lessons at an early age and later attended the Westover Boarding School in Middlebury, Connecticut. Although she signed some of her early paintings Ethel Thayer, by the end of the 1920s she generally signed her work Polly Thayer. She continued to use Polly Thayer as her brush name after she married, although in 1967 she changed her name legally from Ethel Randolph Starr to Polly Thayer Starr.

After graduating from Westover School, Thayer traveled to China, Korea, and Japan with her brother and mother. While in Japan, the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 struck just as their ship was about to leave Yokohama. In the devastation that followed, their ship was used as a hospital and Polly Thayer assisted with nursing the injured.

After returning home, Thayer began her formal studies at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts from 1923 to 1925 where she took painting classes taught by Philip Hale. She eventually left the Boston Museum and began private painting lessons with Hale. While working under Hale, she painted a large nude, Circles, which was awarded the National Academy of Design's coveted Julius Hallgarten Prize in 1929. She also spent the summer of 1924 in Provincetown studying with Charles Hawthorne and traveled to Europe where she studied at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. She later studied in Madrid and, from 1930-1933, at the Art Students League in New York City.

Thayer's first solo exhibition was held on New Year's Eve, 1930 at the Doll & Richards gallery in Boston. The Globe reviewer declared it "surely settles her status as one of the foremost painters in the country." The success of the exhibition led to numerous portrait commissions --any of them exhibited at Wildenstein gallery in New York City --and launched Thayer's career as a portrait artist. Her portrait subjects include Judith Anderson, Jacques Barzun, Maurice Evans, Lewis Galantiere, Robert Hale, May Sarton, John Wheelwright, and Agnes Yarnall, among others. Additional galleries that subsequently gave Thayer solo shows were the Sessler Gallery in Philadelphia; Contemporary Arts and Pietrantonio Galleries in New York; and in Boston the Guild of Boston Artists, Grace Horne Galleries, Child's Gallery, The Copley Society, the St. Botolph Club and the Boston Public Library.

In 1933, Polly Thayer married Donald Starr, a Boston lawyer and avid sailor. They married in Italy and honeymooned in Paris while he took a break from a sailing trip around the world on his schooner "Pilgrim." They had two daughters, Victoria and Dinah. In 1942 Thayer joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) which became an important part of her life and identity. She was active in many educational, charitable and cultural institutions and local clubs. Thayer had long been fascinated by the dynamics, meaning and variety of visual experience. In 1981 the Friends Journal published her essay "On Seeing," a paper she continued to refine until she was ninety-seven.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Polly Thayer began focusing more on landscapes and still lifes and continued to be prolific artist, exhibiting in numerous solo and group exhibits in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. In her later years she renewed an early affiliation with Vose Galleries which she maintained for the rest of her life. In 2001, she was the only living artist whose work was included in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibition "A Studio of Her Own" and a banner of her portrait of May Sarton hung over the entrance to the Museum.

Polly Thayer (Starr) died on August 30, 2006.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds an oral history interview of Polly Thayer conducted May 12, 1995-February 1, 1996, by Robert F. Brown.

The Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust holds archival materials and artwork by Polly Thayer.
Provenance:
The Polly Thayer (Starr) papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Polly Thayer in 1998 and again in 2008 by Thayer via Stephanie S. Wright, executor. A notebook was donated in 2016 by Dinah Starr, daughter of Polly Thayer (Starr) and merged with the rest of the collection.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Polly Thayer (Starr) papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Kanto Earthquake, Japan, 1923  Search this
Portrait painters  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Sound recordings
Sketchbooks
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Video recordings
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Citation:
Polly Thayer (Starr) papers, 1846-2008, bulk 1921-2008. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.thaypoll
See more items in:
Polly Thayer (Starr) papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-thaypoll
Online Media:

John Henry Bradley Storrs papers

Creator:
Storrs, John Henry Bradley, 1885-1956  Search this
Names:
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Andersen, Hendrik Christian, 1872-1940  Search this
Anderson, Sherwood, 1876-1941  Search this
Bennett, Edward H.  Search this
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Blum, Jerome, 1884-1956  Search this
Braque, Georges, 1882-1963  Search this
Bryant, Louise, 1885-1936  Search this
Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976  Search this
Cole, Walter, b. 1891  Search this
Cret, Paul Philippe, 1876-1945  Search this
Dismorr, Jessica Stewart, 1885-1939  Search this
Dreier, Katherine Sophie, 1877-1952  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Eastman, Max, 1883-1969  Search this
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-  Search this
Halpert, Edith Gregor, 1900-1970  Search this
Hartley, Marsden, 1877-1943  Search this
Heap, Jane  Search this
Hecht, Zoltan, 1890-1968  Search this
Hélion, Jean, 1904-1987  Search this
Lipchitz, Jacques, 1891-1973  Search this
Léger, Fernand, 1881-1955  Search this
Ray, Man, 1890-1976  Search this
Raynal, Maurice  Search this
Rodin, Auguste, 1840-1917  Search this
Sheeler, Charles, 1883-1965  Search this
Stella, Joseph, 1877-1946  Search this
Sterne, Maurice  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946  Search this
Storrs, Marguerite Deville Chabrol  Search this
Survage, Leopold  Search this
Zorach, Marguerite, 1887-1968  Search this
Zorach, William, 1887-1966  Search this
Extent:
20.44 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Poems
Diaries
Sketches
Video recordings
Sketchbooks
Prints
Portfolios (groups of works)
Date:
1790-2007
bulk 1900-1956
Summary:
The papers of sculptor, painter, and printmaker John Henry Bradley Storrs measure 20.44 linear feet and date from 1790-2007, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1900 to 1956. The collection contains biographical material, correspondence, personal business records, forty-eight diaries of John Storrs, a few diaries of other family members, additional writings, printed material, photographs of Storrs and his family and friends, artwork, scrapbooks, estate records, and video recordings. Correspondence includes that of John Storrs, Marguerite Storrs, and the Storrs family.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of sculptor, painter, and printmaker John Henry Bradley Storrs measure 20.44 linear feet and date from 1790 to 2007, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1900 to 1956. The collection documents Storrs' career as an artist and his personal life through biographical material, correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues, personal business records, forty-eight diaries and other writings, printed material, photographs of Storrs and his family and friends, artwork, scrapbooks, estate records, and video recordings. There is also a substantial amount of Marguerite Storr's correspondence as well as scattered correspondence of other members of the Storr's family.

Biographical material consists of chronologies detailing the life of John Storrs, identification records, certificates, Storrs family documents, and records of John and Monique Storrs' French resistance activities during World War II.

Correspondence within this collection is divided into John Storrs Correspondence, Marguerite Storrs Correspondence, and Storrs Family Correspondence. The bulk of correspondence is John Storrs with friends, colleagues, art critics, patrons, art organizations and galleries. Correspondents of note include artists, architects, and writers such as Hendrick Andersen, Sherwood Anderson, Edward Bennett, George Biddle, Jerome Blum, Georges Braque, Louise Bryant, William Bullitt, Alexander Calder, Walter Cole, Paul Phillippe Cret, Katherine Dreier, Marcel Duchamp, Max Eastman, R. Buckminster Fuller, Marsden Hartley, Jane Heap, Jean Helion, Fernand Leger, Jacques Lipchitz, Man Ray, Charles Sheeler, Gertrude Stein, Joseph Stella, Maurice Sterne, Alfred Stieglitz, Leopold Survage, and William and Marguerite Zorach. There are also many letters to his wife Marguerite.

Marguerite Storrs' correspondence is with friends, family, colleagues, and others, including many letters to her husband. The letters are about general and family news, social activities and invitations, her work as a writer, and her husband's career. Storrs' family correspondence includes John and Marguerite's extensive correspondence with their daughter Monique as well as Monique's correspondence with others. Additional family correspondence is between John, his sister Mary ("Mae") and their parents David William and Hannah Storrs, much of it dating from 1900 to 1913.

Personal business records include address books, records regarding the sale and loan of Storrs' artwork, commission files regarding major public sculptures by Storrs, contracts, appraisals, financial records, and other documents regarding his professional activities. Of note are several files documenting Downtown Gallery's representation of Storrs' work during the 1960s, including correspondence between Edith Halpert and Monique Storrs. Various other documents include records of the Ecole de la Loire artists group (all in French.) Additionally there are records relating to Chateau de Chantecaille, an estate purchased by Storrs in the early 1920s as his primary residence and studio.

Forty-eight diaries contain scattered documentation of John Storrs' daily activities. Other writings by Storrs include four volumes of his memoirs that detail family history and his life from birth to 1906, notebooks, poetry, and personal accounts including the death of Auguste Rodin. Writings by others include poetry by Jessie Dismorr, essays by Zoltan Hecht and Maurice Raynal, and notebooks belonging to Storrs family members.

Printed material consists of books, art bulletins, brochures, invitations, announcements, and programs for art and social events. Also found are catalogs for exhibitions of Storrs' work and work by other artists; magazines, including a bound volume of the first ten issues of The Liberator; and clippings which include news about Storrs, his family, and friends.

Photographs depict John Storrs, his family, friends such as Arthur Bock and Gertrude Lambert, travels, and residences. Included are photographs of Storrs in his studio and in art classes. Also found are four photograph albums, primarily documenting his time in Europe from 1905 to 1907, exhibition photographs, and numerous photographs of his artwork.

Original artwork includes a portfolio of artwork created by Storrs as a youth, loose sketches, one sketchbook, 31 lithographs, and drawings for mural projects.

Four scrapbooks and a portfolio kept by John and Marguerite Storrs contain newspaper and magazine clippings of articles and illustrations as well as printed material from exhibitions, social events, and professional activities. Also found is a portfolio containing scattered items regarding the publication of Song of Myself with original wood engravings by John Storrs. One additional scrapbook was created by John Storrs around 1945 for his daughter, Monique Storrs, to document her service as a nurse in World War II.

This collection also includes records of John Storrs' estate immediately following his death in 1956, as well as records of several galleries that represented the estate in managing Storrs' artwork from the 1970s to 2002.

Three videocassettes, transferred from an unknown reel format, contain footage of Storrs' family life at Chantecaille and in Chicago, Illinois, in the 1930s.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 11 series.

Some box and folder numbers in the container listing intentionally display out of sequence. An accretion was added in 2012 and integrated into the intellectual order, but not into the physical container order. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1837, 1860-1984 (Box 1, 20, 25, OV 23; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1857-2007 (Box 1-7, 25; 5.8 linear feet)

Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1790, 1855-1987 (Box 7-9, 25, OV 24, 28; 2.9 linear feet)

Series 4: Diaries, 1874-1955 (Box 9-10; 0.9 linear feet)

Series 5: Writings, 1888-1989 (Box 10-11, 25; 1.1 linear foot)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1867-1987, 2005 (Box 11-14, 25, OV 24; 3.6 linear feet)

Series 7: Photographs, circa 1885-1980 (Box 14-16, 18, 20-22, 25, MGP 1, MGP 2, MGP 5, MGP 6; 3.2 linear feet)

Series 8: Artwork, 1895-1935 (Box 18, 20, OV 23; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 9: Scrapbooks, 1895-1963 (Box 18-21, 25; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 10: Estate Records, 1956-2002 (Box 26; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 11: Video Recordings, circa 1980s (Box 26-27; 0.2 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
John Henry Bradley Storrs (1885-1956) worked primarily in Chicago, Illinois, and Mer, France, as a sculptor, painter, and printmaker.

John Storrs was born in 1885 in Chicago, Illinois, to David William Storrs, an architect, and Hannah Bradley Storrs. Upon completing his schooling in 1905 he went to Berlin with the intention of studying music, but instead chose to study sculpture with the Arthur Bock in Hamburg, Germany. He also spent time in Paris and traveled throughout Europe, Turkey, and Egypt, returning to the US in late 1907. Storrs took night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, followed by periods of study at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, with Bela Pratt, and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Charles Grafly. In 1912 he returned to Paris where he studied at the Académie Julian and with the famous sculptor Auguste Rodin. During this period his work was greatly influenced by cubism and futurism. In 1914 he married French writer Marguerite Deville-Chabrol. After briefly returning to the US to exhibit his work, Storrs worked at a hospital in Paris throughout World War I and in 1918 his daughter Monique was born. He and his family settled in Mer, France, at the Chateau de Chantecaille in 1921.

The following two decades were very productive for Storrs and he frequently travelled between the US and France to exhibit and create work. He showed in many notable exhibits such as the Société Anonyme's International Exhibition of Modern Art in New York in 1926, and he completed several commissions such as a statue for the Chicago Board of Trade in 1929. During this time Storrs completely moved away from representational work and refined his non-objective, machine-like sculpture. Besides sculpture, he also produced many paintings, woodcuts, lithographs, and other works on paper. He created works for the Century of Progress International Exposition in 1933 and also worked for the Public Works of Art Project in 1934.

During World War II Storrs was twice arrested and imprisoned by the German occupation forces, once for six months from 1941 to 1942 and again in 1944 along with his daughter Monique who was part of the French Resistance. These events greatly impacted his health and he produced very little work in the late 1940s and 1950s. He continued to exhibit his work and was also president in 1954 of the Ecole de la Loire, a group of 75 artists working in the Loire Valley. John Storrs died in 1956.
Related Materials:
Also available at the Archives of American Art is the Noel Frackman research material on John Henry Bradley Storrs, 1972-2003. In addition, Archives of American Art microfilm reels 1463 and ND/S-1 contain the John Henry Bradley Storrs scrapbook and studio book, 1909-1972.
Separated Materials:
The Booz family also loaned approximately 1,000 drawings by John Storrs and select family photographs for microfilming. Loaned material is available for viewing on reel 1555, but is not described in this container listing of this finding aid.
Provenance:
The John Henry Bradley Storrs papers were donated in several installments from 1979 to 1987 by Storrs' daughter, Monique Storrs Booz, and her daughter, Michelle Storrs Booz. A portion of these papers were loaned for microfilming in 1977 and subsequently donated in 1980. Additional papers were donated by Michelle Storrs Booz in 2011.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Rights:
The John Henry Bradley Storrs papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Expatriate artists -- France  Search this
Artists' studios -- France -- Paris -- Photographs  Search this
Painters -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Painters -- France -- Paris  Search this
Printmakers -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Printmakers -- France -- Paris  Search this
Sculpture, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Sculptors -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Sculptors -- France -- Paris  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- France  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Underground movements  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Poems
Diaries
Sketches
Video recordings
Sketchbooks
Prints
Portfolios (groups of works)
Citation:
John Henry Bradley Storrs papers, 1890-2007, bulk 1900-1956. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.storjohn
See more items in:
John Henry Bradley Storrs papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-storjohn
Online Media:

Olive Rush papers

Creator:
Rush, Olive, 1873-1966  Search this
Names:
United States. Dept. of the Treasury. Section of Fine Arts  Search this
Extent:
6.3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketches
Diaries
Photographs
Date:
1879-1967
Summary:
The papers of Olive Rush measure 6.3 linear feet and date from 1879 to 1967. They contain correspondence, artwork, photographs, writings, and other personal papers documenting Rush's education and career as an illustrator, portraitist, muralist, painter, teacher, and promoter of Native American art.
Scope and Contents note:
The records of Olive Rush measure 6.3 linear feet and date from 1879 to 1967. They contain correspondence, artwork, photographs, writings, and other records that document her education and career as an illustrator, portraitist, muralist, painter, and promoter of Native American art.

Biographical materials include several narratives written by Rush and others, as well as a few items related to Delaware artist Ethel Pennewill Brown Leach, Rush's close friend and colleague. Correspondence spans Rush's education and career, and documents her early career in illustration, purchases and exhibitions of her work, her efforts to secure exhibitions for Native American artists, and her dealings with administrators of Federal Art Projects of the 1930s.

Writings include diaries from Rush's early years, including an especially detailed diary from her Santa Fe Indian School mural project in 1932. Also found are lectures, talks, essays, notebooks with technical experiments and aesthetic ideas, and loose notes for her FAP project at the New Mexico College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts.

Records of Rush's artwork include two record books, receipts for supplies and shipments, price lists, inventories, records of submissions, and a small number of similar records of artwork by Native American artists. Sketchbooks, loose sketches, and drawings by Rush span her entire career and include many studies and proposed designs for murals and frescoes.

Printed Materials consist of exhibition catalogs, clippings, and reproductions of artwork, especially illustration work from Rush's early career. Photographs include a class photograph from the Corcoran School of Art circa 1890 and many of Rush and her fellow artists in Wilmington, Delaware from around 1904 to 1910. Photographs of works of art document Rush's murals and frescoes in private homes, businesses, and public buildings.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged into seven series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1886-1966 (Box 1; 7 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1889-1964 (Boxes 1-2, 8; 1.4 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, 1886-1962 (Box 2; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 4: Records of Artwork, 1904-1956 (Box 3; 8 folders)

Series 5: Artwork, 1896-1957 (Boxes 3-4, 7, OV 8-12; 1 linear foot)

Series 6: Printed Materials, 1879-1967 (Boxes 4-5, 7, OV 13; 1.6 linear feet)

Series 7: Photographs, circa 1890-1966 (Box 6; 0.4 linear feet)
Biographical/Historical note:
Olive Rush was born in Fairmount, Indiana in 1875 to a Quaker farm family of six children, and attended nearby Earlham College, a Quaker school with a studio art program. Encouraged by her teacher, Rush enrolled in the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. in 1890, where she stayed for two years and achieved early recognition for her work. In 1893, Rush joined the Indiana delegation of artists to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

In 1894, she moved to New York City and continued her studies at the Art Students League with Henry Siddons Mowbray, John Twachtman, and Augustus St. Gaudens. She secured her first job as an illustrator with Harper and Brothers and quickly started doing additional illustration work for Good Housekeeping, Scribner's, The Delineator, Woman's Home Companion, Sunday Magazine and St. Nicholas Magazine. Rush also became a staff artist at the New York Tribune and illustrated several books.

In 1904, Rush sent an inquiry with samples of her work to master illustrator Howard Pyle, who had established what was then the only school of illustration in the country in Wilmington, Delaware. There he provided free instruction to a small number hand-picked artists culled from hundreds of applicants. Although Pyle did not admit women to his studio, he encouranged her to come and join the class for lectures and criticisms. Rush moved to Delaware later that year, joining a growing number of female illustrators there including Ethel Pennewill Brown (later Leach), Blanche Chloe Grant, Sarah Katherine Smith, and Harriet Roosevelt Richards, among others. Rush and her female colleagues lived together in a boarding house known as Tusculum, which became well-known as a gathering place for women artists.

Rush traveled to Europe in 1910, embarking on a period of intense study and travel which would mark a steady transition from illustration to painting. She studied at Newlyn in Cornwall, England and then in France with the American impressionist Richard E. Miller. She returned to Wilmington in 1911, where she moved into Pyle's studio with Ethel Pennewill Brown. Rush bounced to New York, Boston, and back to France, where she lived for a time with fellow artists Alice Schille, Ethel Pennewill Brown, and Orville Houghton Peets. Her reputation grew, and she began to exhibit regularly in major national and regional juried exhibitions including the Carnegie, Pennsylvania Academy, and Corcoran annual exhibitions, as well as the Hoosier Salon.

In 1914, Rush made her first trip to Arizona and New Mexico. Passing through Santa Fe on her return trip, Rush made contact with the artists community at the Museum of New Mexico, where she secured an impromptu solo exhibition after showing her new work, inspired by the landscape of the Southwest. She made Santa Fe her permanent home in 1920 in an adobe cottage on Canyon Road, which became a main thoroughfare of the Santa Fe artists' community.

Rush began to experiment with fresco painting, and developed her own techniques suitable to the local climate. She became a sought-after muralist and was asked to create frescoes for many private homes and businesses. In her painting, she often depicted the Native American dances and ceremonies she attended. She exhibited these paintings around the country, including with the Society of Independent Artists in New York, and in the Corcoran Annual Juried exhibition, where Mrs. Herbert Hoover and Duncan Phillips both purchased her work.

In 1932, Rush was hired to teach at the Santa Fe Indian School. Rush's enthusiastic work in the 1930s with the young pueblo artists is credited with helping to bring about a flourishing of Native American visual art in New Mexico. Rush continued to work with native artists throughout her life, and many of her associates went on to gain national reputations, including Harrison Begay, Awa-Tsireh, Pop Chalee, Pablita Valerde, and Ha-So-De (Narciso Abeyta).

From 1934 to 1939, Rush executed murals for the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) and the Federal Art Project (FAP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Rush's federal art projects included murals for the Santa Fe Public Library (1934), the Biology Building of the New Mexico Agricultural College (1935), the Pawhuska, Oklahoma Post Office (1938), and the Florence, Colorado Post Office (1939). Rush was also asked to join the Advisory Committee on Indian Art created by the PWAP in 1934, to help administer a segment of the program aimed at employing Native American artists.

In her later years, Rush's artwork became increasingly experimental, incorporating the ideas of Chinese painting, Native American art, and her contemporaries, the modernists, especially Wassily Kandinsky. She continued painting and exhibiting until 1964, when illness prohibited her from working. She died in 1966, leaving her home and studio to the Santa Fe Society of Friends.

Sources consulted for this biography include Olive Rush: A Hoosier Artist in New Mexico (1992) by Stanley L. Cuba, and Almost Forgotten: Delaware Women Artists and Arts Patrons 1900-1950 (2002) by Janice Haynes Gilmore.
Related Archival Materials note:
The Archives of American Art holds a brief oral history interview with Olive Rush concerning her involvement with Federal Art Projects.
Separated Materials note:
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel SW4) including scrapbooks, photographs, clippings, and exhibition catalogs. Most of this material was later donated, but some items remain with the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
Olive Rush donated the bulk of her papers to the Archives of American Art in 1963 and 1964. Additional exhibition catalogs and photographs were added to the collection upon her death in 1966. An anonymous donation of diaries, sketchbooks, and a photograph was received by the Archives in 1970. Also in 1970, the Olive Rush Memorial Studio lent papers for microfilming. Many, but not all, of the loaned materials were later donated.
Restrictions:
The bulk of the collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Olive Rush papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Women painters -- New Mexico -- Santa Fe  Search this
Painters -- New Mexico -- Santa Fe  Search this
American Indians in art  Search this
Art and state  Search this
Mural painting and decoration -- 20th century -- New Mexico -- Santa Fe  Search this
Muralists -- New Mexico -- Santa Fe  Search this
Illustrators -- New Mexico -- Santa Fe  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Diaries
Photographs
Citation:
Olive Rush papers, 1879-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.rusholiv
See more items in:
Olive Rush papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-rusholiv
Online Media:

Rudolph Schaeffer papers

Creator:
Schaeffer, Rudolph  Search this
Names:
East & West Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design  Search this
Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984  Search this
Cunningham, Imogen, 1883-1976 -- Photographs  Search this
Frey, Caroline  Search this
Frey, Fred  Search this
Tobey, Mark  Search this
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959 -- Photographs  Search this
Extent:
13.3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Diaries
Christmas cards
Designs
Interviews
Sketchbooks
Sketches
Sound recordings
Transcripts
Place:
Japan -- Description and Travel
Date:
1880s-1997
Summary:
The collection measures 13.3 linear feet, dates from the 1880s-1997 and documents the life and varied career of Rudolph Schaeffer, artist, designer, teacher, writer, collector of Asian art, and pioneer in the field of color study who founded the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design in San Francisco in 1926. The papers include biographical information, correspondence, subject files, writings, diaries, journals, artwork, scrapbooks, sound recordings, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The collection measures 13.3 linear feet, dates from the 1880s-1997, and documents the life and varied career of Rudolph Schaeffer, artist, designer, teacher, writer, collector of Asian art, and pioneer in the field of color study who founded the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design in San Francisco in 1926. The papers include biographical information, correspondence, subject files, writings, diaries, journals, artwork, scrapbooks, sound recordings, and photographs.

Correspondence documents Schaeffer's personal and professional activities as well as the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design. Subject files contain various combinations of correspondence, photographs, printed material, and drawings reflecting Schaeffer's activities, projects, and interests. Within the subject files is correspondence with artists, including Mark Tobey. Extensive writings include manuscripts for published and unpublished articles and drafts, notes, and manuscripts of several unpublished books including Collected Lectures of Rudolph Schaeffer on Color and Design, Color and Design, Prismatic Color Theory, and Rhythmo-Chromatics, all undated. Diaries include a volume recording Schaeffer's 1936 trip to Japan. 42 volumes of journals, compiled between 1954 and 1987, contain entries on a wide range of subjects including lists of errands, invitation lists, class notes, drafts of letters, notes including staff assignments and staff meetings, autobiographical notes and reminiscences, and musings on religion and philosophy.

The Artwork series houses artwork by Schaeffer and his students. Found are hand-made Christmas cards, designs, sketches, and sketchbooks. Seven scrapbooks document Rudolph Schaeffer's career, his school and former students, and the San Francisco art scene. They contain printed material, photographs, letters, and a small amount of artwork. Volume 3 is devoted to East West Gallery, and volume 7 documents Rudolph Schaeffer's 90th Birthday and the 50th Anniversary of the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design.

Most untranscribed sound recordings (audio cassettes and reels) are of lectures by Schaeffer and others delivered at the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design.

Miscellaneous records includes a series of hand-baticked fabric samples from the Wiener Werkstatte, as well as transcripts of an oral history with Schaeffer and other interviews.

Printed material concerns the career of Rudolph Schaeffer, his school and former students, the San Francisco art scene, and general art topics. Included are articles and a book by Schaeffer, catalogs and other items produced by the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design, and miscellaneous items about or mentioning Schaeffer and his school. Items of note are announcements of courses taught by Schaeffer in Piedmont and San Francisco prior to the opening of his school, and theatre programs from productions with sets and some costumes designed by Schaeffer in the early 1920s.

Photographs are of artwork, people, places, events, stage designs, and miscellaneous subjects. Artwork includes some designs by Rudolph Schaeffer; people include Schaeffer, his family, friends, and students. Of particular note are a photograph of Frank Lloyd Wright's visit to the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design, and one of Rudolph Schaeffer and Imogen Cunningham. Places include interior and exterior views of the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design at its St. Anne Street and Mariposa Street locations. Also included are photographs by Ansel Adams of the home of Ed and Caroline Fey.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 10 series:

Series 1: Biographical Information, 1900-1988 (Box 1; 0.1 linear ft.)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1906-1989 (Box 1, 19; 0.5 linear ft.)

Series 3: Subject Files, 1907-1988 (Boxes 1-2, OV 16; 1.3 linear ft.)

Series 4: Writings, circa 1910-1987 (Boxes 2-6, 15, 19, 21; 4.2 linear ft.)

Series 5: Artwork, 1911-1957 (Boxes 6-15, 19, 21 OV 17; 0.6 linear ft.)

Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1933-1976 (Boxes 6, 14, 19; 0.6 linear ft.)

Series 7: Sound Recordings, 1949-1986 (Boxes 11-13; 1.2 linear ft.)

Series 8: Miscellaneous Records, 1905-1986 (Box 7, 19, 22; 0.8 linear ft.)

Series 9: Printed Material, 1906-1994 (Boxes 7-8, 15, 19, 22; 1.2 linear ft.)

Series 10: Photographs, 1880s-circa 1988 (Boxes 8-10,15, 20, 22, OV 18; 1.8 linear ft.)
Biographical Note:
Rudolph Schaeffer (1886-1988), a proponent of the Arts and Crafts movement, aspired to unite technology, science, and lifestyle in order to live in harmony with nature. An individual with many talents and interests, he was best known for his work in the field of color study and as a teacher and the founder of the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design in San Francisco.

Born on a farm in Clare, Michigan in 1886, Rudolph Schaeffer displayed musical and artistic talent from a young age. Although he initially wanted to become a professional musician, he began focusing more on art when his musical abilities were compromised by an improperly set broken wrist. Schaeffer received his first formal art training as a high school student and then attended the Thomas Normal Training School in Detroit, where he studied music, art, and design. He continued studying independently, developing interests in calligraphy and metal craft.

In 1907, Schaeffer taught manual training courses in the Columbus, Ohio, public schools. The following summer he traveled to Paris and London. While in London he saw an exhibition of Josef Hoffman's modern interiors that had a great impact on his own design ideas. He then returned to Michigan and taught in schools close to home. In 1909, Schaeffer attended a design course in Minneapolis taught by A. E. Batchelder, director of Throop Polytechnic Institute in Pasadena. Both Batchelder and his course were strong influences on Schaeffer, as was Ralph Johnot, a proponent of Arthur Wesley Dow's design principles. In 1910 Schaeffer joined the faculty of Throop Polytechnic Institute, where he remained for five years.

The U. S. Commission on Education selected Schaeffer to be part of a delegation of twenty-five American teachers sent to Munich for several months in 1914 to investigate the exemplary industrial design curriculum offered in their secondary schools. Schaeffer subsequently expected to begin teaching at the Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles at the start of the 1914 school year, but World War I erupted while he was in Germany and his return to the United States was delayed so long that another teacher had to be hired to fill his place.

In 1915 Schaeffer was a manual training instructor at the California College of Arts and Crafts (formerly the Hopkins School), and taught design and metal crafts at the University of California Berkeley. For a number of years afterwards, he did free lance design work, taught private classes, and ran a small summer school in his Piedmont studio. Schaeffer was a visiting professor at Stanford University in 1918 when he was drafted and sent to drafting and surveying courses by the Army. Between 1917 and 1924 Schaeffer was on the faculty of the California College of Arts and Crafts where he taught design, color, handicrafts, and interior design. During this period he developed a new approach to teaching color and design based on the prismatic color wheel.

During the early 1920s Schaeffer worked as a set designer and as Art Director of Greek Theatre at the University of California at Berkeley, Schaeffer began applying prismatic color theory to set and costume design. He also designed sets for productions in Detroit. In 1925, Schaeffer saw the Paris Exposition and researched interior and stage design while in France.

The Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design which, in its early days was called the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Rhythmo-Chromatic Design, opened on St. Anne Street in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1926. In 1951 the school then moved to Union Street on Telegraph Hill where it remained for nearly a decade. In 1960, the school purchased a former boys' school on Mariposa Street, Portero Hill. Rudolph Schaeffer lived in a small cottage built for him at the rear of the property where he designed and tended a remarkable "Peace Garden."

The Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design was best known for its courses in color and interior design. Schaeffer was the first person in the United States to teach prismatic color theory, is credited with being the first to use the term "interior design" rather than "interior decoration" and the first to incorporate the use of models into interior design coursework. In 1959 the school's courses were expanded from 2 to 3-year programs and a diploma was awarded. Former students include many successful interior designers, textile designers, furniture designers, industrial designers, commercial artists, color consultants, teachers, and master flower arrangers.

In addition to the interior design and color diploma courses, the school offered a summer session, classes for children, a brief lecture series for the general public, and a wide variety of classes including advertising art, architecture and design, art history, art in public schools, calligraphy, color design, color for television, color for weavers, color theory, design, drawing, environmental aesthetics, fashion design, fashion illustration, flower arrangement, industrial design, interior design, Notan, sculpture, space planning, textile design, and weaving. Always struggling financially and sometimes lacking adequate enrollment, the school nevertheless managed to stay open for nearly 60 years. In 1984, the Board of Directors voted to remove Schaeffer from the board and close the school. Two years earlier the board had forced Schaeffer to retire, appointed him Director Emeritus, and brought in a new director charged with making the institution financially solvent, reorganizing the curriculum, and working toward accreditation. Unable to separate himself from the school (though he had done so legally when it was incorporated in 1953), Schaeffer balked and refused to cooperate with plans for revitalizing the institution.

One of the aims of the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design was to interpret Asian esthetic principles. To this end the East West Gallery was established at the school in 1950. A membership organization, it offered exhibitions, lectures, concerts, and other programs that encouraged cultural integration. Exhibitions alternated between East (Asian art and artifacts from Rudolph Schaeffer's collection or other sources) and West (student work or work of local artists illustrating the influence of the Asian esthetic on contemporary art and design). East West Gallery was a membership organization, the first space of its kind in San Francisco for Asian art and operated in each of the school's locations.

In addition to running the school Schaeffer was involved in many other activities. He wrote several articles about flower arrangement, color, and color theory that were published in popular magazines. In 1935, he published Flower Arrangement Folio I (said to be the first on the subject published in this country) and in 1942 edited and wrote the introduction to Sunset's Flower Arrangement Book by Nell True Welch. Over a period of many years, he worked on several monographs on color, design, and "rhythmo-chromatics." None were ever published.

A sought-after speaker on the subjects of color, interior design, flower arrangement, and myriad other art topics, Schaeffer frequently served as a juror for art exhibitions and flower shows. From the 1930s on, the San Francisco department store Emporium used his services as a color consultant, as did Dutch Boy paints, and numerous textile and clothing manufacturers. Builders also asked Schaeffer to select interior and exterior colors for suburban housing developments.

Schaeffer worked on planning and designing the decorative arts exhibition at the 1939-40 Golden Gate International Exposition. In 1943-44, he participated in the Red Cross's Arts and Skills program, using color therapy with shell-shocked soldiers in a psychiatric unit.

The Rudolph Schaeffer Collection of Asian Art began as a collection of ceramics, both historical and contemporary examples chosen for their form and color, which he used for flower arrangements and in set-ups for still life classes. It soon expanded to include color prints, paintings, screens, and other works of art and portions were exhibited frequently in the East West Gallery. Selections from this collection were exhibited in Kansas City in 1960 and at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco in 1976.

The City of San Francisco declared June 26, 1986, Schaeffer's 100th birthday, "Rudolph Schaeffer Day" and it was observed with great fanfare. He died at home on March 5, 1988, a few months before his 102nd birthday.
Provenance:
The Rudolph Schaeffer papers were donated in 1991 by Rudolph Schaeffer and the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design administrator Peter Docili, and in 1999 and 2000 by James Alexander, a friend of both Schaeffer and Docili, who had been storing portions of Docili's estate after his death in 1998, with the assistance of Frances Valesco, a fiber artist and researcher. An addition was received in 2007 by William Woodworth, a close friend and caretaker of Schaeffer's and in 2017 and 2018 by Frances Valesco.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of archival audiovisual recordings requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Rudolph Schaeffer papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Artists -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Designers -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Art, Asian  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Art teachers -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Artists -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Authors -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Color -- Study and teaching  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Diaries
Christmas cards
Designs
Interviews
Sketchbooks
Sketches
Sound recordings
Transcripts
Citation:
Rudolph Schaeffer papers, 1880s-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.scharudo
See more items in:
Rudolph Schaeffer papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-scharudo

Cosmos Andrew Sarchiapone papers

Creator:
Sarchiapone, Cosmos Andrew, 1931-2011  Search this
Names:
Parsons School of Design -- Faculty  Search this
Push Pin Studios  Search this
School of Visual Arts (New York, N.Y.) -- Faculty  Search this
Arbus, Diane, 1923-1971  Search this
Cage, John, 1912-1992  Search this
Glaser, Milton  Search this
Hay, Alex  Search this
Huebler, Douglas  Search this
Israel, Marvin  Search this
Johnson, Ray, 1927-  Search this
Kelly, Ellsworth, 1923-  Search this
Scull, Robert C.  Search this
Sonneman, Eve  Search this
Extent:
49.2 Linear feet
Culture:
New York (State)--New York City--Photographs  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Drawings
Ephemera
Illustrations
Music
Photocopies
Photographs
Posters
Prints
Sketchbooks
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Date:
circa 1860-2011
bulk 1940-2011
Summary:
The papers of New York City photographer, conceptual artist, and musical composer Cosmos Sarchiapone measure 49.2 linear feet and date from circa 1860-2011, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1940-2011. The collection includes biographical material and personal business records; correspondence; extensive writings, including written and recorded music compositions; teaching files; printed material and published sound and video recordings; photographic material; artwork; artifacts; and unpublished sound recordings and born digital material. Highlights of the collection are more than 40,000 photographic images documenting New York's avant-garde art scene of the 1970s, along with celebrity parties, concerts, exhibition openings and other occasions in the art, music, and theater world. Extensive and somewhat rare printed materials offer users a visual chronical of the downtown art world in the form of posters from the 1970s, including a number of Milton Glaser's, and hundreds of exhibition announcements, theater programs, and playbills.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of New York City photographer, conceptual artist, and musical composer Cosmos Sarchiapone measure 49.2 linear feet and date from circa 1860-2011, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1940-2011. The collection includes biographical material and personal business records; correspondence; extensive writings, including written and recorded music compositions; teaching files; printed material and published sound and video recordings; photographic material; artwork; artifacts; and unpublished sound recordings and born digital material. Highlights of the collection are more than 40,000 photographic images documenting New York's avant-garde art scene of the 1970s, along with celebrity parties, concerts, exhibition openings and other occasions in the art, music, and theater world. Extensive and somewhat rare printed materials offer users a visual chronical of the downtown art world in the form of posters from the 1970s, including a number of Milton Glaser's, and hundreds of exhibition announcements, theater programs, and playbills.

Biographical material and personal business records include address books, calendars, legal paperwork, life documents, resumes, and other material. Correspondence is both personal and professional in nature. Personal correspondence is between Cosmos and friends, family, and pen pals. Professional correspondence is with curators, publishers, and estates and mostly concerns Cosmos's artwork, photographs, or objects he lent for exhibition or publication.

Writings include general writings and notes, including a book layout for a book never realized; fifteen notebooks containing Cosmos's writings about projects, dreams, and miscellany; music compositions in both written form and on sound recordings; and scattered writings by others, including manuscripts and theater scripts.

Teaching files document photography courses taught by Cosmos at the School of Visual Arts in 1974-1976, and the Parsons School of Design in 1980.

Printed materials and commercially published sound and video recordings in the collection are extensive and reflect Cosmos's unique interests and inspirations, and his tendency to save and collect material discarded or rejected by others. There are books and periodicals featuring Cosmos's work, annotated by Cosmos, or of special significance to Cosmos. There is also a list of books in Cosmos's library. Some of the periodicals concern Push Pin Studios and Milton Glaser. There is a large group of ephemera, such as announcements, catalogs, press releases, programs, playbills, posters, and assorted items covering several decades of New York exhibitions, events, concerts, and performances. There are posters for exhibitions, events, performances, film screenings, and concerts. Some of the clippings and other ephemera may have been removed from scrapbooks or other compilations, and some remain collated and mounted on mat board. Some of the printed materials may have been used by Cosmos as source materials.

Photographic material makes up a significant portion of the collection (14.5 linear feet), and illustrates the breadth of Cosmos's documentation of New York City, capturing the avant-garde art and theater worlds, the people and streets, self-portraits, and numerous other subjects. There are images of named people and people at parties, of exhibitions and performances, of New York City streets and buildings, of a more personal and family nature, of artwork, and of miscellaneous subjects. There are also collected photographs, some of which are vintage. There is a large group of unidentified and unsorted negatives, slides, and contact sheets. Where they existed, labeling and descriptive notes have been preserved with the unidentified materials.

Artwork is also quite extensive (10.5 linear feet) and found in a variety of genre, format, and media. There is also a small subseries of artwork by others. One group of artwork consists of titled or named art projects and series, often executed in the form of series that spanned decades. This group includes Cosmos's Reciprocal project that incorporated his photographic work. For this project, he would photograph notable figures, including John Cage, Robert Scull, and others, and ask them to photograph him. There are also several folders of Cosmos's work focusing on photographer Diane Arbus.

A group of artwork identified as "compilations" consist primarily of photocopies of compiled presentations of documents, photographs, fragments, writings, drawings, printed materials and ephemera, and bits and pieces of Cosmos's titled work. These compilations were prepared by Cosmos for individuals in the art world to whom he was close. The original compilations were then photocopied and presented to the intended receiver. The subseries of compilations contains both originals and photocopied versions that do not always correlate with one another. Also found among the artwork are drawings, illustrations, a few paintings, collages, and sketchbooks by Cosmos. Artwork by others includes an artist book, drawings, a sketchbook, and prints by Milton Glaser, Alex Hay, Douglas Huebler, Marvin Israel, Ray Johnson, Ellsworth Kelly, and Eve Sonneman.

Found within the collection are three dimensional artifacts, including eight cameras and other items Cosmos saved and collected to incorporate into his photographs.

There is a large series of unpublished sound recordings and born digital material, some of which is clearly identified and labeled, and some of which is unidentified. When known, labeling has been incorporated into the folder titles in the container inventory. Users should note that sound recordings that were clearly identified and associated with other projects were arranged in context with those related materials.

Printed material (series 5), photographic material (series 6), and artwork (series 7), include many photocopies. Cosmos used the photocopy process to make copies of his work to share with others, and as a creative form of art in itself, experimenting with tonality, collage, and the degeneration of images from repeated copying. Photocopies were also made of articles, newspapers, and various source material and ephemera that he collected. Many photocopies have descriptive labeling on the back. For some photographs and projects, photocopies are the only form of documentation located in the collection.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as nine series

Series 1: Biographical Material and Personal Business Records, circa 1949-2011 (1 linear foot; Box 1, 44, OV 49)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1940s-2011 (.7 linear feet; Box 1-2)

Series 3: Writings, circa 1947-2000s (4.2 linear feet; Box 2-6, 44, OV 50-51)

Series 4: Teaching Files, 1970s-1980s (1.9 linear feet; Box 6-8, 44, OV 52)

Series 5: Printed Material, Published Sound, Video Recordings, 1894-2000s (8.3 linear feet; Box 8-13, 44-45, OV 53-73, RD 105)

Series 6: Photographic Material, circa 1860-2000s, bulk 1970-2010 (14.5 linear feet; Box 14-26, 46-47, OV 74-80)

Series 7: Artwork, 1947-2000s (10.5 linear feet; Box 27-34, 47-48, OV 81-104)

Series 8: Artifacts, 1960s-2000s (1.5 linear feet; Box 34-35)

Series 9: Sound Recordings and Born Digital Material, 1950s-2000s (6.6 linear feet; Box 36-43)
Biographical / Historical:
Cosmos Andrew Sarchiapone (1931-2011) was a documentary photographer, musical composer, and conceptual artist who worked in New York City.

Cosmos Andrew Sarchiapone was named Cosime Sarchiapone at birth, and was also known as Cosmos, Cosmos Savage, and Richard Savage. His parents, Lois and Aldo, had seven children, including twins Cosmos and Damian. Born in Manhattan, Cosmos graduated from the La Guardia High School of Music and Art in New York City in 1948 and from Syracuse University in 1958 with a concentration in music composition and studio art. After college, he studied musical composition with John Cage at the New School in 1961, art history with Meyer Schapiro at Columbia University from 1963-1965, illustration with Marvin Israel from 1966-1971, design with Milton Glaser from 1968-1973, and photography with Diane Arbus from 1970-1971. He taught photography at the School of Visual Arts from 1974-1976, and at Parsons School of Design in 1980. In the early 1970s, he led experimental theater workshops at Columbia-Barnard University.

Between 1968-1969, Cosmos worked with Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast at their Push Pin Studios, a graphic design and illustration studio.

Sometime between the late 1960s and the early 1970s, Cosmos began photographing New York City, capturing the art and theater worlds, the people and streets, self-portraits, and numerous other subjects. As a freelance photographer for New York magazine (founded by Milton Glaser) and other mass-market publications, Cosmos photographed Andy Warhol and his circle, Halloween parties at the Waldorf, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon convention, the Jesus Joy Jubilee at Carnegie Hall, the Beat Poets' reunion and private parties attended by Hollywood actors and directors, often capturing the overlapping worlds of art, movies and music. Cosmos's photographs have been published in numerous books and publications. His work was featured in several exhibitions in the 1970s, including shows at the Jamie Gallery, the Fine Arts Building, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. But he created the bulk of his work for himself and much of it remains unpublished.

Throughout the 1970s, Cosmos documented the avant-garde art scene in New York City. He captured performances at The Kitchen and La Mama, the offices of New York magazine and Push Pin Studios, Tom O'Horgan's Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, and much more. He photographed performances and installations at 112 Greene Street in SoHo, an interdisciplinary art space that nurtured the experiments of a number of now significant American artists, dancers and musicians, including Chris Burden, Vito Acconci, Suzanne Harris and Phillip Glass, all of whom were photographed by Cosmos. He also photographed numerous images of 112 Greene Street's sister space, Matta-Clark's FOOD, an artist-run eatery at the corner of Prince and Wooster Streets where exotic meals were offered up as both performance art and nourishment. Cosmos used his camera as a way to get close to artists he admired, including Diane Arbus, Milton Glaser, and Marvin Israel.

According to Milton Glaser, "Cosmos was a brilliant photographer who was never without a camera….He was always everywhere. In terms of documentation of that period, there was no one like him."

Cosmos often incorporated aspects of his photography into conceptual art pieces, including two serial works that Cosmos made from fragments of Diane Arbus' discarded photographs, transforming her iconic work. Many of Cosmos's conceptual art pieces often took the form of a series, and were continuously revisited. In Reciprocal, Cosmos photographed figures—including those he admired like John Cage, Meyer Schapiro, Robert Scull, and others—then asked each to photograph him. Many of Cosmos's art projects were based in photographic documentation of his "performances", as in Sheet Music, where he is seen tearing a white sheet outside Bloomingdale's during the 'white sale.' Cosmos's convictions about smoking, its hazards, and the nefarious actions of tobacco companies led to several related projects, among them, Photo Arrest, where Cosmos captured on camera people smoking illegally in hospitals, classrooms, grocery stores, and elevators.

Cosmos created scores for plays and dance performances, including Churchyard by the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1970, and numerous Off-Off Broadway theater productions in the 1960s. He wrote an opera, Vox Humana #3. The opera is about three heroines of history: Antigone, Joan of Arc, and Patty Hearst, and synthesizes a variety of media, including music composition, stage direction, and video (Patty Hearst in Chains), into a four hour performance that was staged at La Mama in 1976 and The Kitchen in 1977.

Cosmos lived at Westbeth Artists' Community from 1970-2011, but had largely withdrawn from the world by the 2000s. Cosmos Sarchiapone died in 2011.
Provenance:
Donated to the Archives of American Art in 2015 by Tom Sarchiapone, Cosmos Sarchiapone's brother, via Catherine Morris, curator and friend of Cosmos.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Cosmos Andrew Sarchiapone papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Art -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Composers--New York (State)--New York  Search this
Conceptual art  Search this
Conceptual artists--New York (State)--New York  Search this
Music--New York (State)--New York  Search this
Photographers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Photography -- Study and teaching  Search this
Photography--New York (State)--New York  Search this
Theater--New York (State)--New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Ephemera
Illustrations
Music
Photocopies
Photographs
Posters
Prints
Sketchbooks
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Citation:
Cosmos Andrew Sarchiapone papers, circa 1860-2011, bulk 1940-2011. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.sarccosm
See more items in:
Cosmos Andrew Sarchiapone papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-sarccosm

San Francisco Art Association and related organizational records

Creator:
San Francisco Art Dealers Association  Search this
Names:
California School of Design  Search this
Mark Hopkins Institute of Art  Search this
San Francisco Art Institute  Search this
San Francisco Museum of Art  Search this
Western Round Table of Modern Art (1949 : San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Bateson, Gregory  Search this
Boas, George, 1891-  Search this
Burke, Kenneth, 1897-  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Frankenstein, Alfred V. (Alfred Victor), 1906-1981  Search this
Geddes, Norman Bel, 1893-1958  Search this
Goldwater, Robert John, 1907-1973  Search this
MacAgy, Douglas, 1913-  Search this
Milhaud, Darius, 1892-1974  Search this
Ritchie, Andrew Carnduff  Search this
Schoenberg, Arnold, 1874-1951  Search this
Tobey, Mark  Search this
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959  Search this
Extent:
9 microfilm reels
9 Sound cassettes (Sound recordings)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Microfilm reels
Sound cassettes
Date:
1871-1978
bulk 1871-1920
Scope and Contents:
Primarily records of the San Francisco Art Association (1871-1920), but also of the California School of Design (1873-1905) (briefly called the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in 1893), the Palace of Fine Arts (1915-1945), The Western Round Table on Modern Art (1949), the San Francisco Art Institute (1911-1978), the San Francisco Museum of Art (1921-1970), and the Douglas MacAgy papers (1944-1950).
REELS 1288-1289: 3 vol. containing minutes of board of trustees meetings of the Association and Institute, 1871-1915, and minutes of the meetings of the board of directors of the California School of Design, 1873-1905.
REELS 2429-2433: Historical data contains material relating to the museum. San Francisco Art Association records include correspondence; photographs; membership records; organizational and registrarial records; reports; printed material; and materials regarding the Palace of Fine Arts. San Francisco Museum of Art section includes correspondence; minutes of board meetings; reports; legal documents; clippings; and printed materials. "Western Round Table on Modern Art" conference sponsored by SFAA, April 8-10, 1949, includes letters to organizer Douglas MacAgy regarding arrangements, publicity, and comments, including several from participants Gregory Bateson, Kenneth Burke, George Boas, Marcel Duchamp, Alfred Frankenstein, Norman Bel Geddes, Robert Goldwater, Darius Milhaud, Andrew Ritchie, Arnold Schoenberg, Mark Tobey, and Frank Lloyd Wright; Abstract of Proceedings; transcripts of the meeting edited by participants; clippings; and photographs. The microfilm also includes papers of Douglas MacAgy; and correspondence, clippings, and photographs of artists' models for the San Francisco Art Institute.
REELS 4962-4963: Files, primarily correspondence, from the director, J. Nilsen Laurvik, from the 43rd (1919) and 44th (1920) San Francisco Art Association Annual Art Exhibition of the Works of American Artists, pertaining to its organization, promotion and administration; and additional material relating to the "Western Round Table on Modern Art," including transcripts from the Apr. 8th session edited by participants, some with notes and letters, and a final draft of an edited version; a scrapbook of publicity clippings on the Round Table; and 30 photographs taken during the conference.
Also included are 9 audio cassettes (copied from original Webcor wire recordings) of the entire proceedings of the "Western Roundtable."
Biographical / Historical:
The San Francisco Art Association (SFAA) was founded in 1871 and incorporated in 1889. The California School of Design was established under the auspices of SFAA in 1874, changing its name to the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in 1893 after the Mark Hopkins mansion was given to SFAA. It became the San Francisco Institute of Art in 1907, and the California School of Fine Arts in 1917. From 1916-1924, SFAA retained the Palace of Fine Arts, which had been part of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. In 1921, SFAA incorporated the San Francisco Museum of Art (SFMA) into its administration although each retained autonomy. In 1961, SFAA merged with the School and was renamed the San Francisco Art Institute. A change in the constitutional by-laws officially dissolved the SFAA in 1966, leaving the SFAI and the SFMA. In 1976, SFMA changed its name to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
On April 8-10, 1949, the SFAA sponsored the Western Round Table of Modern Art, organized by Douglas MacAgy for the purpose of bringing together a representation of the best informed opinion to discuss questions about art of the day.
Provenance:
Lent for microfilming 1977-1987 by the San Francisco Art Institute. The sound recordings were borrowed from the San Francisco Art Institute, recorded on cassette in 1987 and then the orginal wire tapes were subsequently returned to the San Francisco Art Institute.
Restrictions:
Patrons must use microfilm copy.
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Function:
Art museums -- California -- San Francisco
Arts facilities -- California -- San Francisco
Art Schools -- California -- San Francisco
Identifier:
AAA.sanfraaa
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-sanfraaa

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records

Creator:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery  Search this
Names:
Zabriskie Gallery  Search this
Andrejevic, Milet, 1925-  Search this
Aponovich, James, 1948-  Search this
Bailey, William, 1930-  Search this
Bell, Leland  Search this
Brassaï, 1899-  Search this
Cameron, Julia Margaret Pattle, 1815-1879  Search this
Cartier-Bresson, Henri, 1908-  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Dawson, Manierre, 1887-1969  Search this
Driggs, Elsie, 1898-1992  Search this
Erlebacher, Martha Mayer  Search this
Evans, Walker, 1903-1975  Search this
Fiske, Gertrude, 1878-1961  Search this
Freund, Gisèle  Search this
Horton, William S., 1865-1936  Search this
Ito, Miyoko, 1918-1983  Search this
Lachaise, Gaston, 1882-1935  Search this
Laderman, Gabriel, 1929-  Search this
Ligare, David  Search this
Matthiasdottir, Louisa  Search this
Matulka, Jan, 1890-1972  Search this
Myers, Ethel  Search this
Nadelman, Elie, 1882-1946  Search this
Schoelkopf, Robert J., 1927-1991  Search this
Stella, Joseph, 1877-1946  Search this
Storrs, John Henry Bradley, 1885-1956  Search this
Wiesenfeld, Paul  Search this
Extent:
29 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gallery records
Illustrated letters
Photographs
Date:
1851-1991
bulk 1962-1991
Summary:
The collection comprises 29 linear feet of records that document the day-to-day administration of the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery from 1962 to 1991, with additional items predating the founding of the gallery from 1851 to 1961. The collection records artist and client relations, exhibitions, and daily business transactions through artist files, correspondence, printed matter, and photographic material.
Scope and Content Note:
The records of the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery comprise 29 linear feet of material from 1851 to 1991, with some items predating the founding of the gallery. The bulk of the records date from 1962 to 1991, providing researchers with fairly comprehensive coverage of the gallery's development and operations from its inception in 1962 until its closure in 1991. Items dated prior to 1962 relate principally to the period of transition during which Robert Schoelkopf ended his partnership with the Zabriskie Gallery and established his own business. There are also some items relating to artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

The collection consists primarily of artist files documenting relations with contemporary artists, representation of deceased artists, and other works of art handled by the gallery. It also chronicles the gallery's exhibition schedule and the day-to-day administration of the business. The types of material that can be found here include correspondence, exhibition inventories, price lists, accounting and consignment records, shipping and insurance records, printed material, and photographs.

The collection is a valuable source of information on twentieth-century American art history, focusing primarily on early-twentieth-century modernists as well as an important group of American realist painters and sculptors from the latter half of the century. The collection illuminates, in detail, the developing market for these schools and, in the case of the latter group, provides personal insights from artists on the realist perspective.

The records also document the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery's significant contribution to the resurgence of interest in fine art photography during the 1960s and 1970s as reflected in an increase in the value of works by important American photographers such as Walker Evans.

Much of the outgoing correspondence from the gallery consists of copies of letters written by Robert Schoelkopf, with additional business being handled by assistant staff and, from the mid-1970s, Schoelkopf's wife, Laura Jane Schoelkopf. The records offer insight into the personalities of the Schoelkopfs and how their congenial and candid management style influenced their relationships with the contemporary artists they represented.
Arrangement:
Originally the collection was organized as one large file arranged alphabetically by folder title, with titles ranging from names of artists to general subject headings such as "Correspondence." During processing it became clear that the gallery delineated operations into three main functions: artist relations, client-dealer relations, and exhibitions. Consequently the collection is arranged as three main series based on these areas of concern. A small group of miscellaneous photographs of artists constitutes an additional series at the end of the collection.

Originally paper records throughout the collection were generally arranged chronologically, although this order was not strictly adhered to. Frequently, correspondence and memoranda were attached to related records going back several years. To preserve the relationship between such documents, records stapled together in this way have been left together. They are arranged in reverse chronological order and filed in the folder corresponding to the primary date (i.e., the date of the first and most recent paper in the group). Researchers should be aware that date ranges provided on folders refer to the primary dates of documents contained therein and that some items in the folder may predate that range. Otherwise, the general chronological scheme has been retained throughout the collection, with undated material placed at the beginning of the appropriate file.

Printed material is arranged in chronological order, with undated material at the beginning of the folder, and may include press releases, exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, posters, clippings from newspapers, magazines, and journals, and other publicity material. Large amounts of printed material are broken down into several discrete folder units.

The most consistent labeling system for photographic material apparent throughout the collection was title of work of art. The majority of images are not dated with a printing date or the date that the work of art was produced, and although many of them have a processing number, these are by no means consistent and there are no master lists that can be used to interpret them. Consequently, images are arranged primarily by media type and then alphabetically by title. Untitled images are placed at the beginning of a media group; "the" in a title is ignored. Exceptions to this method are addressed in the appropriate series descriptions.

Files labeled "Photographs of Works of Art" will typically include any or all of the following: black-and-white copy prints, black-and-white transparencies, color transparencies, slide transparencies, Polaroid prints, color snapshots, contact sheets, and separation sheets. Often the same image will be duplicated in several different formats. Any notes on photographic material found in or on the original folder in which the material was filed have been preserved with the material or transcribed onto a sheet of acid-free paper that either encloses or is placed directly before the item to which the information applies.

The designation "General" indicates that a file may contain any or all of the types of material outlined above.

Series 1: Artist Files, 1851-1991, undated (Boxes 1-23; 23 linear ft.)

Series 2: General Business Files, 1960-1991, undated (Boxes 24-28; 4.74 linear ft.)

Series 3: Group Exhibition Files, 1960-1988, undated (Boxes 28-29; 1 linear ft.)

Series 4: Photographs of Artists, undated (Box 29; 0.25 linear ft.)
Historical Note:
Robert Schoelkopf, Jr., was born in Queens, New York, in 1927. He graduated from Yale College in 1951 with a bachelor of arts degree and then taught briefly at his alma mater while conducting graduate research in art history. Schoelkopf began his career in commercial art in 1957 as an independent dealer of American painting and sculpture and became a member of the Art Dealers Association of America in 1958. In 1959 he formed a partnership with Virginia Zabriskie, of the Zabriskie Gallery in New York, which lasted until 1962. The gallery exhibited late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century American painting, together with contemporary painting of a somewhat conservative style.

In 1962 Schoelkopf signed a three-year lease for the fourth floor of a building at 825 Madison Avenue in New York, where he opened the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery. From the outset, Schoelkopf aimed to specialize in American painting of the nineteenth and twentieth century and sculpture of all schools. He predicted a burgeoning market for the Hudson River School in particular, believing that American painting was increasingly perceived as being worthy of serious attention. In a letter dated January 3, 1963, Schoelkopf congratulated John Spencer for his decision to collect nineteenth-century American paintings for the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, assuring him that "progressive chauvanism [ sic] will operate to elevate prices in American painting. Every year more colleges teach Art History, and soon they shall have reached the level of sophistication and development where they will be obliged (for face) to offer tuition in specifically American art - hitherto neglected of academicians.... I and many other dealers have plans for exhibitions of nineteenth-century American painting, especially the Hudson River School."

Schoelkopf's instincts regarding the Hudson River School were undoubtedly correct, and consequently nineteenth-century American painters formed a permanent mainstay of his inventory. He is perhaps remembered more, however, for his dedication to reviving interest in lesser-known American painters from the turn-of-the-century who were impressionist or modernist in style. Schoelkopf developed something of a reputation for unearthing forgotten talent that, while sometimes mediocre or inconsistent, was occasionally exceptional and certainly worthy of note. He was committed to reinstalling Joseph Stella in the pantheon of major American artists, representing Stella's estate from 1963 to 1971 and holding regular exhibitions of the artist's work from 1962 on. In 1969 the gallery held the first New York exhibition of the paintings of Manierre Dawson, who was subsequently acclaimed by the critics for his important and innovative contributions to modernism. In 1970 Schoelkopf began showing the work of Jan Matulka, an artist whose work had been neglected since the 1930s, and his enthusiastic representation of the Matulka estate paved the way for a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1979.

Schoelkopf's interest in turn-of-the-century artists also extended to sculptors such as John Flannagan, Ethel Myers, Elie Nadelman, and John Henry Bradley Storrs, and he directed considerable energy to furthering Gaston Lachaise's reputation as an artist of major stature. When Lachaise died at the peak of his career in 1935, his estate was left to his wife, Isabel, and in 1957 to Isabel's son, Edward. When Edward died shortly thereafter, John B. Pierce, Jr., a nephew of Isabel Lachaise, was appointed trustee of the estate and formed the Lachaise Foundation. In 1962 Pierce entered an agreement with Robert Schoelkopf and Felix Landau to represent Lachaise's sculpture on the East and West Coasts, respectively. In this capacity Schoelkopf helped to launch a major retrospective of the artist's work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1964 and a traveling exhibition that began circulating in 1967.

The gallery's other major commitment was to painting and sculpture by contemporary American realists, many of whom worked in a figurative style and explored elements of allegory and classical mythology in their work, presenting landscapes, still lifes, and portraits from a realist perspective. The bulk of the gallery's exhibitions were, in fact, of work by contemporary artists, including metaphysical still-life painter William Bailey, colorist Leland Bell, figurative painter Martha Mayer Erlebacher, landscape and narrative painter Gabriel Laderman, and Icelandic artist Louisa Matthiasdottir. William Bailey was one of the gallery's most commercially successful artists, and his first one-person exhibition in New York was held there in 1968. Demand for Bailey's paintings often far exceeded his output, and by the late 1970s Schoelkopf invariably sold out his exhibitions and had compiled a lengthy waiting list for his work.

In its early years the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery contributed considerably to the development of interest in fine art photography that fostered an increasingly lucrative market for photographic prints during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1965 Schoelkopf began incorporating photography into the gallery's exhibition schedule and, in the spring of 1974, opened a gallery dedicated to photography on the second floor at 825 Madison Avenue. Between 1965 and 1979 Schoelkopf's was the only serious New York gallery dealing in painting and sculpture that also regularly exhibited photography as fine art. His interests lay primarily in antiquarian photography and the work of nineteenth-century and twentieth-century masters including Eugéne Atget, Mathew Brady, James Robertson, and Carleton Watkins. Schoelkopf organized shows examining specific photographic processes, the photogravure and the cyanotype, and presented surveys of genres such as portrait and landscape photography. In 1967 he held the first exhibition in many years of the work of Julia Margaret Cameron, an important figure in the history of Victorian photography, timing it to coincide with a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that focused on Cameron as one of four Victorian photographers.

Schoelkopf also handled the work of several influential contemporaries, most notably Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, and Gisèle Freund. The gallery held Freund's first exhibition in the United States in 1975 and was, for a time, the only place in New York where one could see and purchase prints by Cartier-Bresson. Schoelkopf began exhibiting Evans's work in 1966 and regularly thereafter, including a 1971 exhibition that coincided with a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.

In the fall of 1976 the second-floor gallery space was turned over to Marcuse (Cusie) Pfeifer, then the gallery's director, who planned to use it to show the work of young photographers in a gallery under her own name. Schoelkopf continued to hold several photography exhibitions a year in the fourth-floor gallery but decided to concentrate primarily on nineteenth-century masters.

In March 1971 a fire in the building at Madison Avenue resulted in substantial water damage to the gallery space. Although very little of the inventory was destroyed, the incident forced Schoelkopf to close until September. This temporary loss of revenue compounded with a nationwide recession cut into Schoelkopf's financial resources and left him questioning his commission policy and his level of commitment to contemporary work in all media. A letter to artist Adolph Rosenblatt dated May 3, 1971, records how Schoelkopf had become increasingly disenchanted with "all contemporary work" and would begin taking 40 percent commission on sales, instead of 33.3 percent. "Beside the matter of enthusiasm is the matter of economics," Schoelkopf remarked, "and the last year and a half have been really dreadful for the art business."

This difficult period was followed immediately by more prosperous times. January 1973 proved to be the gallery's most successful month to date, encouraging Schoelkopf to purchase a house in Chappaqua, New York, later that year. In November 1974 Schoelkopf wrote to Anthony D'Offay that business "is as slow as it has ever been, but what sales we make are big ones" and revealed that auctions had, at that point, become his primary avenue for trade.

Around 1975 Schoelkopf's wife of eleven years, Laura Jane Schoelkopf, began working in the gallery. Although seemingly dubious of the work at first, she became a considerable asset to the business and reputedly complemented her husband's relationship with the gallery's contemporary artists through her warmth and hospitality, qualities often noted by artists who corresponded regularly with the couple.

The financial instability that characterized the 1970s undoubtedly influenced Schoelkopf's decision to cease exhibiting photography in 1979. By 1978 however, his investment in early-twentieth-century art appeared to be paying off. Jan Matulka, Joseph Stella, and John Henry Bradley Storrs had all been represented in exhibitions at major museums, and sales of their work had increased considerably. Gaston Lachaise's reputation continued to grow, and the traveling exhibition still circulated, garnering far more interest than had originally been anticipated.

Although contemporary artists continued to take up the largest portion of the gallery's changing exhibitions, Schoelkopf's interest in contemporary work was growing more conservative, tending toward a narrower focus on the narrative and allegorical. By 1979 he no longer exhibited contemporary sculpture, admitting to a lack of enthusiasm for the work of any of the current figurative sculptors and a dislike of all contemporary abstract work. In a letter to Lillian Delevoryas, dated March 17, 1982, he confessed, "With age has come a hardening of the aesthetic arteries perhaps. What we have been showing is realism, but getting tighter all the time."

In April 1984 the gallery was moved to 50 West Fifty-seventh Street, and, during the years that followed, the Schoelkopfs pared down the number of contemporary artists they represented, handling only those to whom they felt most strongly committed while continuing to specialize in nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century American painting and sculpture. As the gallery approached its thirtieth anniversary, Schoelkopf's achievements were considerable. He had operated a successful New York gallery for almost three decades, rejuvenated the reputations of several important American artists, and was respected by artists and clients alike for the integrity, intelligence, and humor with which he conducted his business affairs. In 1987 he had been appointed to the board of trustees of the Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Laboratory. By this time he was also a member of the advisory board to the National Academy of Design, and in 1988 he became a co-trustee of the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.

In March 1990, Robert Schoelkopf was diagnosed with leukemia and underwent a regimen of cancer treatment that resulted in a brief remission by the summer. Schoelkopf returned to work temporarily, but by 1991 his condition had worsened and he died in April of that year. Having known for some time that her husband's prognosis was poor, Laura Jane Schoelkopf had apparently decided that she would not continue the gallery in the event of his death. With the help of the youngest of their two sons, Andrew, she settled final accounts and assisted the gallery's contemporary artists in finding representation elsewhere before closing the business in August 1991.
Provenance:
Twenty-seven linear feet of records were donated to the Archives of American Art by Laura Jane Schoelkopf, Robert Schoelkopf's widow, and the Coe Kerr Gallery in 1991 and 1992. An additional gift of 3.4 linear feet was donated by Laura Jane Schoelkopf in 1996. The collection was reduced slightly during processing.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Art, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Realism in art  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Gallery records
Illustrated letters
Photographs
Citation:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records, 1851-1991, bulk 1962-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.robeschg
See more items in:
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-robeschg
Online Media:

E.P. (Edgar Preston) and Constance Richardson papers

Creator:
Richardson, Edgar Preston, 1902-1985  Search this
Richardson, Constance, 1905-  Search this
Names:
Archives of American Art  Search this
Castano Galleries (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Detroit Institute of Arts  Search this
Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum  Search this
Historical Society of Pennsylvania  Search this
Macbeth Gallery  Search this
National Collection of Fine Arts (U.S.)  Search this
National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institution)  Search this
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts  Search this
Philadelphia Museum of Art  Search this
White House (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Peale family  Search this
Allen, Joseph  Search this
Allston, Washington, 1779-1843  Search this
Andrews, Wayne  Search this
Aram, Siegfried F.  Search this
Bishop, Isabel, 1902-1988  Search this
Bostick, William A.  Search this
Bouché, Louis, 1896-1969  Search this
Boyd, Julian P. (Julian Parks), 1903-  Search this
Castano, Giovanni, 1896-1978  Search this
Cohn, Harold  Search this
Copeland, Lammot du Pont  Search this
Culver, Charles B. (Charles Beach), 1908-1967  Search this
Fleischman, Lawrence A. (Lawrence Arthur), 1925-1997  Search this
Flexner, James Thomas, 1908-2003  Search this
Frankenstein, Alfred V. (Alfred Victor), 1906-1981  Search this
Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998  Search this
Freeman, Michael W.  Search this
Garrison, Eve Josephson, 1903-2003  Search this
Groce, George C., 1899-  Search this
Hardy, Jeremiah Pearson, 1800-1889  Search this
Heil, Walter, 1890-1973  Search this
Hopper, Edward, 1882-1967  Search this
Jungwirth, Irene G. (Irene Gayas), 1913-  Search this
Krentzin, Earl, 1929-  Search this
Kuniyoshi, Yasuo, 1889-1953  Search this
Lee-Smith, Hughie  Search this
Lewis, W. S. (Wilmarth Sheldon), 1895-1979  Search this
Lynes, Russell, 1910-1991  Search this
Marsh, Reginald, 1898-1954  Search this
Mast, Gerald, 1908-1971  Search this
McDermott, John Francis, 1902-  Search this
Middeldorf, Ulrich Alexander, 1901-  Search this
Morse, John D., 1906-  Search this
Moser, Liselotte, 1906-1983  Search this
O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986  Search this
Oliver, Andrew, 1906-  Search this
Peale, Charles Willson, 1741-1827  Search this
Pleasants, J. Hall (Jacob Hall), 1873-1957  Search this
Ripley, Sidney Dillon, 1913-2001  Search this
Rockefeller, John D., 1906-  Search this
Rockefeller, Nelson A. (Nelson Aldrich), 1908-1979  Search this
Rutledge, Anna Wells  Search this
Sellers, Charles Coleman, 1903-  Search this
Sheeler, Charles, 1883-1965  Search this
Simper, Fred, 1914-  Search this
Simpson, Corelli C. W.  Search this
Soria, Regina, 1911-  Search this
Spark, Victor D. (Victor David), 1898-1991  Search this
Speck, Walter, 1895-  Search this
Stevens, William B.  Search this
Valentiner, Wilhelm Reinhold, 1880-1958  Search this
Vose, Robert C. (Robert Churchill), 1911-1998  Search this
Watkins, Franklin Chenault, 1894-1972  Search this
Wedda, John  Search this
Woolfenden, William E. (William Edward), 1918-1995  Search this
Wyeth, Andrew, 1917-2009  Search this
Extent:
28.7 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Manuscripts
Interviews
Diaries
Transcripts
Sketches
Lectures
Place:
Detroit (Mich.)
Date:
1814-1996
bulk 1921-1996
Summary:
The papers of art historian E. P. Richardson measure 28.7 linear feet and date from 1814-1996, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-1996. Within the papers are scattered biographical materials; acquisition files for Richardson's personal art collection; professional and personal correspondence with colleagues, art historians and critics, artists, museums, galleries, and dealers; numerous writings, including manuscripts and research files for his published books, articles, and lectures; general research notebooks and files compiled by Richardson on a wide variety of art-related topics and artists; professional and committee files; as well as a smaller amount of Constance C. Richardson's papers.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of art historian E. P. Richardson measure 28.7 linear feet and date from 1814-1996, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-1996. Within the papers are scattered biographical materials; acquisition files for Richardson's personal art collection; professional and personal correspondence with colleagues, art historians and critics, artists, museums, galleries, and dealers; numerous writings, including manuscripts and research files for his published books, articles, and lectures; general research notebooks and files compiled by Richardson on a wide variety of art-related topics and artists; professional and committee files; as well as a smaller amount of Constance C. Richardson's papers.

Biographical materials include certificates, awards, and honorary degrees, membership information, personal and family photographs, a few sketches, and a transcript of an oral history Interview with E.P. Richardson conducted by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1982.

There are acquisitions files for the Richardsons' personal art collection that invoices, photographs, correspondence with galleries and collectors, appraisals, price lists, and artwork examination forms.

Correspondence is with colleagues, art dealers, collectors, museums and museum curators, foreign scholars, organizations, galleries, artists, art historians and critics, publishers, editors, librarians, friends, and family. Topics regard purchasing art for various collections, consultations about art and collecting including authentications and attributions, publishing, general art history, lectures, and personal matters, among other topics. There is correspondence with the Archives of American Art, Castano Galleries, Lawrence Fleischman, James Thomas Flexner, Alfred V. Frankenstein, George Croce, Walter Heil, Earl Krentzin, Wilmarth Lewis, Russel Lynes, John Francis McDermott, Philadelphia Museum of Art, J. Hall Pleasants, Anna Rutledge, Charles Sellers, Smithsonian Institution, Regina Soria, Victor Spark, William Stevens, Robert Vose, William Woolfenden, and many others. Scattered correspondence with artists is with Isabel Bishop, Louis Bouche, William Bostick, Eve Garrison, Edward Hopper, Irene Jungwirth, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Hughie Lee-Smith, Reginald Marsh, Gerald Mast, Georgia O'Keefe, Charles Sheeler, Walt Speck, and John Wedda, among many others. The greatest extent of correspondence is with Andrew Wyeth, Harold Cohn, and Frederick Simper. There is also personal correspondence with family and friends, and between E.P. and Constance Richardson.

E.P. Richardson's prominence as an art historian, writer, and expert on collecting is well documented through his prolific writings. Materials include drafts, notes, typescripts, and outlines for articles, exhibition catalog essays, and lectures. Also found are research files and publishing documentation for Richardson's books, including Washington Allston: A Study of the Romantic Artist in America (1948), Painting in America (1956), Charles Willson Peale and his World (1983), and American Romantic Painting (1944). There are also miscellaneous notes and four diaries. Two of the diaries comment on the social and cultural life of Detroit; the authenticity of paintings; Richardson's reflections on contemporary American painting, thoughts about museums, dealers, artists, and art historians (especially Wilhelm R. Valentiner); and travel.

Notebooks compiled by Richardson on a wide variety art-related topics cover nearly six decades. There are also numerous research files organized Richardson about individual artists and art history. And, the art collector files contain reference materials about art collectors and their collections including Lamont du Pont Copeland, Michael W. Freeman, Nelson Rockefeller, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Allen, and the Marquis de Somerlous. There are three index card file boxes containing bibliographic data on published books and articles.

Professional and committee files document Richardson's professional and consulting work for the Art Quarterly, Detroit Institute of Arts, National Collection of Fine Arts, the National Portrait Gallery, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the John D. Rockefeller III collection, Winterthur Museum, the White House, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Constance C. Richardson's papers include business and professional correspondence with various institutions, most extensively with the Macbeth Gallery. In addition, there is a smaller amount of personal correspondence, photographs and slides of her artworks, printed materials, two illustrated notebooks on her work, and miscellaneous notes. Also included is Constance's artist palette.
Biographical / Historical:
Art historian, museum director, and writer E. P. (Edgar Preston) Richardson (1902-1985) served as director of the Detroit Institute of Arts (1945-1962) and Winterthur Museum (1963-1966). He was also a board member of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1966-1977 and, in 1954, co-founded the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

E. P. Richardson was born in 1902 in Glens Falls, New York and died in Philadelphia in 1985. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1925 and studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for the three years following graduation. In 1930 he became educational secretary at the Detroit Institute of Arts, was quickly named assistant director in 1933, and served as director from 1945 to 1962. He left Detroit to take the position of director of the Winterthur Museum, where he remained until 1966. Richardson married Constance Coleman in 1931. Born in Berlin, Germany in 1905, Constance Coleman Richardson was an award-winning and widely exhibited realist style painter of American landscapes. She gave up painting in the 1960s and died in 2002.

While at the Detroit Institute of Arts, E. P. Richardson co-founded the Archives of American Art with Lawrence Fleischman, and served as the Archives' first director. Richardson was also art advisor to John D. Rockefeller III for over ten years, editor of Art Quarterly from 1938 to 1967, and a member of various boards, including the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Smithsonian Arts Commission, and the National Portrait Gallery. He authored numerous books including ones on artists Washington Allston and Charles Willson Peale, and The Way of Western Art: American Romantic Painting (1939), Painting in America: The Story of Four Hundred and Fifty Years (1956), A Short History of Painting in America (1963), and American Art, an Exhibition of the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, 3d (1976).
Related Materials:
Related collections among the holdings of the Archives of American Art include an interview with E.P. Richardson dated February 6, 1978 conducted by Linda Downs; and several miscellaneous manuscripts that include an E.P. Richardson Letter to Rockwell Kent, June 15 1959; E.P. Richardson letters to Lawrence Arthur Fleischman, May 13, 1962 and August 22 1954; and a Yasuo Kunioshi letter to E.P. Richardson, July 25 1948.

Additional E.P. Richardson papers are found at the Detroit Institute of Arts and in the archives of the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum.
Separated Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel D46) including E.P. Richardson's research material on Jeremiah P. Hardy. These materials are housed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum Library and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
Edith Wilkinson first donated a letter to E. P. Richardson from herself in 1957. E.P. Richardson donated papers to the Archives of American Art in 1958 and 1960 and lent materials for microfilming in 1961. Addition material was donated by Constance Richardson in 1985, and by Martha Fleischman in 2003.
Restrictions:
Use of original material requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact References Services for more information.
Rights:
The E.P. (Edgar Preston) and Constance Richardson papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Occupation:
Authors -- Michigan -- Detroit  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Painting, American  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Romanticism in art  Search this
Art -- History -- Study and teaching  Search this
Art historians -- United States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Manuscripts
Interviews
Diaries
Transcripts
Sketches
Lectures
Citation:
Edgar P. Richardson papers, 1814-1996, bulk 1921-1996. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.richedga
See more items in:
E.P. (Edgar Preston) and Constance Richardson papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-richedga
Online Media:

Henry Varnum Poor papers

Creator:
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Names:
Montross Gallery  Search this
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Benton, William, 1900-1973  Search this
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Billing, Jules  Search this
Burchfield, Charles Ephraim, 1893-1967  Search this
Caniff, Milton Arthur, 1907-1988  Search this
Ciardi, John, 1916-  Search this
Czebotar, Theodore  Search this
Deming, MacDonald  Search this
Dickson, Harold E., 1900-  Search this
Dorn, Marion, 1896-1964  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Esherick, Wharton  Search this
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973  Search this
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Houseman, John, 1902-1988  Search this
Marston, Muktuk  Search this
Meredith, Burgess, 1907-1997  Search this
Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990  Search this
Padro, Isabel  Search this
Poor, Anne, 1918-  Search this
Poor, Bessie Breuer  Search this
Poor, Eva  Search this
Poor, Josephine Graham  Search this
Poor, Josephine Lydia  Search this
Poor, Peter  Search this
Sargent, Elizabeth S.  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968  Search this
Watson, Ernest William, 1884-1969  Search this
Extent:
12.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Diaries
Prints
Photographs
Illustrations
Drawings
Watercolors
Sketchbooks
Date:
1873-2001
bulk 1904-1970
Summary:
The papers of Henry Varnum Poor measure 12.9 linear feet and date from 1873-2001, with the bulk from the period 1904-1970. Correspondence, writings, artwork, printed material and photographs document Poor's work as a painter, muralist, ceramic artist and potter, architect, designer, writer, war artist, educator and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Also found is extensive information about the design and construction of Crow House, his home in New City, New York, commissions for other architectural projects, and his personal life.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Henry Varnum Poor measure 12.9 linear feet and date from 1873-2001, with the bulk from the period 1904-1970. Correspondence, writings, artwork, printed material and photographs document Poor's work as a painter, muralist, ceramic artist and potter, architect, designer, writer, war artist, educator and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Also found is extensive information about the design and construction of Crow House, his home in New City, New York, commissions for other architectural projects, and his personal life.

Henry Varnum Poor's correspondence documents his personal, family, and professional life. Correspondents include family and friends, among them George Biddle, Charles Burchfield, John Ciardi, Marion V. Dorn (who became his second wife), Philip Evergood, Lewis Mumford, John Steinbeck, David Smith, and Mrs. John Work (Alice) Garrett. Among other correspondents are galleries, museums, schools, organizations, fans, former students, and acquaintances from his military service and travels. Family correspondence consists of Henry's letters to his parents, letters to his parents written by his wife, and letters among other family members.

Among the writings by Henry Varnum Poor are manuscripts of his two published books, An Artist Sees Alaska and A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality. as well as the text of "Painting is Being Talked to Death," published in the first issue of Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions, April 1953, and manuscripts of other articles. There are also film scripts, two journals, notes and notebooks, lists, speeches, and writings by others, including M. R. ("Muktuk") Marston's account of Poor rescuing an Eskimo, and Bessie Breuer Poor's recollections of The Montross Gallery.

Subject files include those on the Advisory Committee on Art, American Designers' Gallery, Inc., William Benton, Harold Dickson, Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions Sales, and War Posters. There are numerous administrative files for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Artwork by Henry Varnum Poor consists mainly of loose drawings and sketches and 45 sketchbooks of studies for paintings, murals, and pottery. There is work done in France, 1918-1919, and while working as a war correspondent in Alaska in 1943. There are commissioned illustrations and some intended for his monograph, A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality. Also found are a small number of watercolors and prints. Work by other artists consist of Anne Poor's drawings of her father's hands used for the Lincoln figure in The Land Grant Frescoes and interior views of Crow House by Ernest Watson.

Documentation of Poor's architectural projects consists of drawings and prints relating to houses designed and built for Jules Billing, MacDonald Deming, John Houseman, Burgess Meredith, Isabel Padro, and Elizabeth S. Sargent. Also found is similar material for the new studio Poor built in 1957 on the grounds of Crow House.

Miscellaneous records include family memorabilia and two motion picture films, Painting a True Fresco, and The Land Grant Murals at Pennsylvania State College.

Printed material includes articles about or mentioning Poor, some of his pottery reference books, family history, a catalog of kilns, and the program of a 1949 Pennsylvania State College theater production titled Poor Mr. Varnum. Exhibition catalogs and announcements survive for some of Poor's shows; catalogs of other artists' shows include one for Theodore Czebotar containing an introductory statement by Henry Varnum Poor. Also found is a copy of The Army at War: A Graphic Record by American Artists, for which Poor served as an advisor. There are reproductions of illustrations for An Artist Sees Alaska and Ethan Frome, and two Associated American Artists greeting cards reproducing work by Poor.

Photographs are of Henry Varnum Poor's architectural work, artwork, people, places, and miscellaneous subjects. This series also contains negatives, slides, and transparencies. Images of architectural work include exterior and interior views of many projects; Poor's home, Crow House, predominates. Photographs of artwork by Poor are of drawings, fresco and ceramic tile murals, paintings, pottery and ceramic art. People appearing in photographs include Henry Varnum Poor, family members, friends, clients, juries, students, and various groups. Among the individuals portrayed are Milton Caniff, Marcel Duchamp, Wharton Esherick, M. R. ("Muktuk") Marston, and Burgess Meredith. Among the family members are Bessie Breuer Poor, Marion Dorn Poor, Anne Poor, Eva Poor, Josephine Graham Poor, Josephine Lydia Poor, Peter Poor, and unidentified relatives. Photographs of places include many illustrating village life in Alaska that were taken by Poor during World War II. Other places recorded are French and California landscapes, and family homes in Kansas. Miscellaneous subjects are exhibition installation views, scenes of Kentucky farms, and a photograph of Poor's notes on glazes.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 9 series:

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1919-1987 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1, OV 18)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1873-1985 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1944-1974 (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)

Series 4: Subject Files, 1928-1975 (0.8 linear feet; Box 3, OV 23)

Series 5: Artwork, circa 1890s-circa 1961 (3.5 linear feet; Boxes 4-6, 9-10, OV 19-22)

Series 6: Architectural Projects, circa 1940-1966 (0.7 linear feet; Box 6, OV 24-26, RD 14-17)

Series 7: Miscellaneous Records, 1882-1967 (Boxes 6, 11, FC 30-31; 0.5 linear ft.)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1881-2001 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 6-7, 11, OV 27-29)

Series 9: Photographs, 1893-1984 (2.3 linear feet; Boxes 7-8, 12-13)
Biographical Note:
Henry Varnum Poor (1888-1970), best known as a potter, ceramic artist, and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, was also an architect, painter, muralist, designer, educator, and writer who lived and worked in New City, New York.

A native of Chapman, Kansas, Henry Varnum Poor moved with his family to Kansas City when his grain merchant father became a member of the Kansas Board of Trade. From a young age he showed artistic talent and spent as much time as possible - including school hours - drawing. When a school supervisor suggested that Henry leave school to study at the Art Institute of Chicago, the family disagreed. Instead, he enrolled in the Kansas City Manual Training High School where he delighted in learning skills such as carpentry, forge work, and mechanical drawing. In 1905, he moved with his older brother and sister to Palo Alto, California and completed high school there. Because Poor was expected to join the family business, he enrolled at Stanford University as an economics major, but much to his father's disappointment and displeasure, soon left the economics department and became an art major.

Immediately after graduation in 1910, Poor and his major professor at Stanford, Arthur B. Clark, took a summer bicycling tour to look at art in London, France, Italy, and Holland. As Poor had saved enough money to remain in London after the summer was over, he enrolled in the Slade School of Art and also studied under Walter Sickert at the London County Council Night School. After seeing an exhibition of Post-Impressionism at the Grafton Galleries in London, Poor was so impressed that he went to Paris and enrolled in the Académie Julian. While in Paris, Poor met Clifford Addams, a former apprentice of Whistler; soon he was working in Addams' studio learning Whistler's palette and techniques.

In the fall of 1911, Poor returned to Stanford University's art department on a one-year teaching assignment. During that academic year, his first one-man show was held at the university's Old Studio gallery. He married Lena Wiltz and moved back to Kansas to manage the family farm and prepare for another exhibition. Their daughter, Josephine Lydia Poor, was born the following year. Poor returned to Stanford in September 1913 as assistant professor of graphic arts, remaining until the department closed three years later. During this period, Poor began to exhibit more frequently in group shows in other areas of the country, and had his first solo exhibition at a commercial gallery (Helgesen Gallery, San Francisco). In 1916, Poor joined the faculty of the San Francisco Art Association. He and his wife separated in 1917 and were divorced the following year. Poor began sharing his San Francisco studio with Marion Dorn.

During World War I, Poor was drafted into the U. S. Army, and in 1918 went to France with the 115th Regiment of Engineers. He spent his spare time drawing; soon officers were commissioning portraits, and Poor was appointed the regimental artist. He also served as an interpreter for his company. Discharged from the Army in early 1919, Poor spent the spring painting in Paris. He then returned to San Francisco and married Marion Dorn.

Once Poor realized that earning a living as a painter would be extremely difficult in California, he and his new wife moved to New York in the autumn of 1919. They were looking for a place to live when influential book and art dealer Mary Mowbray-Clarke of the Sunwise Turn Bookshop in Manhattan suggested New City in Rockland County, New York as good place for artists. In January of 1920, the Poors purchased property on South Mountain Road in New City. The skills he acquired at the Kansas City Manual Training High School were of immediate use as Poor designed and constructed "Crow House" with the assistance of a local teenager. Influenced by the farmhouses he had seen in France, it was made of local sandstone and featured steep gables, rough plaster, chestnut beams and floors, and incorporated many hand-crafted details. Poor designed and built most of their furniture, too. Before the end of the year, he and Marion were able to move into the house, though it remained a work in progress for many years. Additions were constructed. Over time, gardens were designed and planted, and outbuildings - a kiln and pottery, work room, garage, and new studio - appeared on the property.

In 1925, two years after his divorce from Marion Dorn, Poor married Bessie Freedman Breuer (1893-1975), an editor, short story writer, and novelist. Soon after, he adopted her young daughter, Anne (1918-2002), an artist who served as his assistant on many important mural commissions. Their son, Peter (b. 1926) became a television producer. Crow House remained in the family until its sale in 2006. In order to prevent its demolition, Crow House was then purchased by the neighboring town of Ramapo, New York in 2007.

Between 1935 and 1966 Poor designed and oversaw construction of a number of houses, several of them situated not far from Crow House on South Mountain Road. Poor's designs, noted for their simplicity, featured modern materials and incorporated his ceramic tiles. Among his important commissions were houses for Maxwell Anderson, Jules Billig, Milton Caniff, MacDonald Deming, and John Houseman.

Poor's first exhibition of paintings in New York City was at Kevorkian Galleries in 1920, and sales were so disappointing that he turned his attention to ceramics. His first pottery show, held at Bel Maison Gallery in Wanamaker's department store in 1921, was very successful. He quickly developed a wide reputation, participated in shows throughout the country, and won awards. He was a founder of the short-lived American Designers' Gallery, and the tile bathroom he showed at the group's first exposition was critically acclaimed. Poor was represented by Montross Gallery as both a painter and potter. When Montross Gallery closed upon its owner's death in 1932, Poor moved to the Frank K. M. Rehn Gallery.

Even though Poor's pottery and ceramic work was in the forefront, he continued to paint. His work was acquired by a number of museums, and the Limited Editions Club commissioned him to illustrate their republications of Ethan Frome, The Scarlet Letter, and The Call of the Wild.

Poor's first work in true fresco was shown in a 1932 mural exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Between 1935 and 1949 he was commissioned to produce several murals in fresco for Section of Fine Arts projects at the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior, The Land Grant Frescoes at Pennsylvania State College, and a mural for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Ceramic tile mural commissions included: the Klingenstein Pavilion, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City; Travelers Insurance Co., Boston; the Fresno Post Office, California; and Hillson Memorial Gallery, Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, Mass.

As a member of the War Artists' Unit, Poor was a "war correspondent" with the rank of major in World War II, and for several months in 1943 was stationed in Alaska. An Artist Sees Alaska, drawing on Poor's observations and experiences, was published in 1945. A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality, his second book, was published in 1958. It remains a standard text on the subject. While on the faculty of Columbia University in the 1950s, Poor and other artists opposed to the growing influence of Abstract Expressionism formed the Reality Group with Poor the head of its editorial committee. Their magazine, Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions, first appeared in 1953 featuring "Painting is Being Talked to Death" by Poor as its lead article. Two more issues were published in 1954 and 1955.

Along with Willard Cummings, Sidney Simon, and Charles Cuttler, in 1946 Henry Varnum Poor helped to establish the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. He served as its first president. Poor and his daughter, Anne, were active members of the Board of Trustees and were instructors for many years. The summer of 1961 was Henry Varnum Poor's last as a full-time teacher, though he continued to spend summers at Skowhegan.

Henry Varnum Poor exhibited widely and received many awards, among them prizes at the Carnegie Institute, Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Architectural League of New York. Poor was appointed to the United States Commission of Fine Arts by President Roosevelt in 1941 and served a five year term. He was elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1943. The National Academy of Design named him an Associate Artist in 1954 and an Academician in 1963. He became a trustee of the American Craftsman's Council in 1956. The work of Henry Vernum Poor is represented in the permanent collections of many American museums including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Addison Gallery of American Art, and Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts.

Henry Varnum Poor died at home in New City, New York, December 8, 1970.
Related Material:
An oral history interview with Henry Varnum Poor was conducted by Harlan Phillips for the Archives of American Art in 1964.
Provenance:
Gift of Henry Varnum Poor's son, Peter V. Poor, in 2007. A smaller portion was loaned to the Archives in 1973 by Anne Poor for microfilming and returned to the lender; this material was included in the 2007 gift.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Henry Varnum Poor papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Occupation:
War artists  Search this
Topic:
Architects -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1914-1918  Search this
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
War posters  Search this
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Pottery -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Artists' studios  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Diaries
Prints
Photographs
Illustrations
Drawings
Watercolors
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Henry Varnum Poor papers, 1873-2001, bulk 1904-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.poorhenr
See more items in:
Henry Varnum Poor papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-poorhenr
Online Media:

Margaret Merwin Patch papers

Creator:
Patch, Margaret Merwin, 1894-1987  Search this
Names:
American Craftsmen's Council  Search this
World Crafts Council  Search this
Ayers, Hester Merwin, 1902-1975  Search this
Webb, Aileen O., 1892-1979  Search this
Extent:
10.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Diaries
Sound recordings
Date:
1885-1986
Summary:
The papers of arts administrator Margaret Merwin Patch measure 10.9 linear feet and date from 1885 to 1986. The bulk of the collection consists of material from Patch's involvement with the American Craftsmen's Council and the formation and administration of the World Crafts Council. Also found are scattered biographical materials from Patch and the Merwin and Patch families; correspondence; three diaries; writings and notes by Patch and by others; subject files regarding various other organizations and activities with which Patch was involved; printed material, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of arts administrator Margaret Merwin Patch measure 10.9 linear feet and date from 1885 to 1986. The bulk of the collection consists of material from Patch's involvement with the American Craftsmen's Council and the formation and administration of the World Crafts Council. Also found are scattered biographical materials from Patch and the Merwin and Patch families; correspondence; three diaries; writings and notes by Patch and by others; subject files regarding various other organizations and activities with which Patch was involved; printed material; and photographs.

Biographical material includes documents from Margaret Merwin Patch as well as items from Rachel Merwin-Coggeshall, George Patch, Hester Merwin, and Ruth Merwin. One scrapbook contains clippings and photographs from the Patch's time at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Correspondents include Dorothy Johnson, Luba Kruja, Mary and Frances Schimpff, Olga Valkova, and Aileen Webb. Writings by others include unpublished works by Aileen Webb and Beatrice Wood. Family photographs depict the Patch and Merwin families.

The bulk of Patch's papers relate to her involvement with numerous arts organizations including the American Craftsmen's Council, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Shelburne Falls Art Center, and the World Crafts Council. These files may include founding documents, financial material, administrative records, correspondence, notes, printed material, and photographs. Found is material from the planning, goals, and accomplishments of twenty-five international meetings of various committees and groups of the World Crafts Council.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 9 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1903-1976 (0.9 linear feet; Box 1, 12, OV13-14)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1928-1986 (0.6 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 3: Diaries, 1912-1926 (0.2 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 4: Writings and Notes, circa 1919-circa 1980s (0.4 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 5: Subject Files, 1927-1986 (1.4 linear feet; Box 2-3)

Series 6: American Craftsmen's Council Records, 1953-1987 (1.0 linear feet; Box 4)

Series 7: World Crafts Council Records, circa 1960-1986 (5.2 linear feet; Box 5-10)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1930s-1986 (0.4 linear feet; Box 10)

Series 9: Photographs, 1880s-1980s (0.8 linear feet; Box 10-11)
Biographical / Historical:
Margaret Merwin Patch (1894-1987) was an arts administrator in Massachusetts and Florida.

Born in Bloomington, Illinois in 1894, Margaret Stone Merwin graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1915. She attended the University of Chicago Graduate School of Commerce and Administration from 1916 to 1917.

While living in London, Margaret enrolled at the London School of Economics and worked for the American Section of the Allied Maritime Transport Council, attending the Paris Peace Conference. Upon returning to the United States, she was a member of the National Industrial Conference Board and attended Columbia University in the early 1920s. She started a statistical graphic design company, Merwin-Davis Statistical Reports and Charts, which produced illustrated and varied graphs to display statistical information in the mid-1920s.

Margaret Merwin married George Patch in 1930. She and George moved between their summer home in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, New York City, where Margaret was a special consultant to the National Broadcasting Company, and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where she studied painting under Zoltan Sepeshy and Wallace Mitchell at Cranbrook Academy of Art. During World War II, Patch worked for the Office of Price Administration. Upon her husband's death in the 1950s, Patch spent winters in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

From the 1940s until her death in 1988, Margaret Merwin Patch devoted her time to arts administration in the United States and around the world. Her passion began when she became the art chairman of the Women's Club of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. With that role, she helped lead the exhibition, class instruction, and retail support of local crafts. Eventually, her activity led to the formation of the Shelburne Falls Craft Center. Among the many organizations with which she was involved were the Aid to Artisans, American Craftsmen's Council, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Deerfield Valley Art Association, Michigan League of Women Voters, and the Shelburne Falls Art Center. Through her affiliation with the American Craftsmen's Council, Patch embarked on a year-long trip around the world in 1960. This trip helped lay the foundation for the World Crafts Council, which was formally established in 1964, with the aid of her colleague, Aileen Osborn Patch. A UNESCO group, the World Crafts Council sponsored international crafts conferences and cultural assemblies.

Margaret Merwin Patch died in 1988.
Related Materials:
Also in the Archives of American Art is an interview of Margaret Merwin Patch, conducted 1980 October 16-1984 September 25, by Robert F. Brown.

Researchers interested in accessing the audiovisual recording in this collection must use an access copy. Contact References Services for more information.
Provenance:
The Margaret Merwin Patch papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Linda M. Walker, a personal representative of Patch's estate in 1987.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing the audiovisual recording in this collection must use an access copy. Contact References Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Arts administrators  Search this
Topic:
handicrafts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Diaries
Sound recordings
Citation:
Margaret Merwin Patch papers, 1885-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.patcmarg
See more items in:
Margaret Merwin Patch papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-patcmarg

William Page and Page Family papers

Creator:
Page, William, 1811-1885  Search this
Names:
National Academy of Design (U.S.)  Search this
Beecher, Henry Ward, 1813-1887  Search this
Beecher, Thomas Kinnicut, 1824-1900  Search this
Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877  Search this
Curtis, George William, 1824-1892  Search this
Cushman, Charlotte, 1816-1876  Search this
Fenton, Rueben  Search this
Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879  Search this
Hicks, Thomas, 1823-1890  Search this
Lowell, James Russell, 1819-1891  Search this
O'Donovan, William Rudolph, 1844-1920  Search this
Olmstead, Bertha  Search this
Olmstead, Mary  Search this
Page, Sophia Stevens, 1827-1892  Search this
Page, William, 1811-1885  Search this
Perry, E. W. (Enoch Wood), 1831-1915  Search this
Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884  Search this
Scranton, William Walker  Search this
Shaw, Francis George, 1809-1882  Search this
Stark, William, 1825-1873  Search this
Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874  Search this
Tilton, Theodore, 1835-1907  Search this
Wilmarth, Lemuel Everett, 1835-1918  Search this
Extent:
11.06 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Sketches
Poems
Drawings
Diaries
Date:
1815-1947
bulk 1843-1892
Summary:
The papers of the portraitist and art theorist William Page and the Page family measure 11.06 linear feet and date from 1815 to 1947, bulk 1843-1892. In addition to the papers of William Page, the papers include documents related to Page's wife's career as a writer and records documenting their personal lives and the lives of their family members. Types of documents found include personal documents and artifacts, correspondence, essays, lectures, diaries, poems, notes and notebooks, financial records, legal records, published works, clippings, catalogs, photographs, and artwork.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of the painter William Page and the Page family measure 11.06 linear feet and date from 1815 to 1947, with the bulk of papers dating from 1843 to 1892. Papers contain records related to the life and career of William Page, president of the National Academy of Design from 1871 to 1873 and prominent portraitist and art theorist of his day. Also found are records related to his wife's career as a writer and records documenting their personal lives and the lives of their family members. Types of documents found include personal documents and artifacts, correspondence, essays, lectures, diaries, poems, notes and notebooks, financial records, legal records, published works, clippings, catalogs, photographs, and artwork.

Correspondence includes the personal and professional correspondence of William and Sophia Page, and their parents, siblings, and children. Significant correspondents include Thomas Hicks, Enoch Wood Perry, William Stark, Theodore Tilton, Lemuel Wilmarth, Wendell Phillips, William Walker Scranton, Francis G. Shaw; James Russell Lowell, Charles Frederick Briggs, George W. Curtis, Charlotte Cushman, Thomas K. Beecher, Mary Olmsted, and Bertha Olmsted.

Writings include the essays and lectures of William Page, as written by him and revised by Sophia Page in the late 1870s, as well as Sophia's writings as a columnist in Europe in the 1850s. Notes, notebooks, diaries, and poems are also found. Personal Business Records include business records related to the sale and exhibition of artwork as well as financial and legal documents. A small number of memoranda and documents related to Page's work at the National Academy of Design are also found. Printed Materials include exhibition catalogs, published works by William and Sophia Page, and clippings and articles about Page.

Photographs consist mainly of portraits, most of them mounted cabinet photographs or cartes-des-visites, some of which appear to have been used as studies for Page's painted portraits. Among those pictured are William Page, James Russell Lowell, Henry Ward Beecher, Reuben Fenton, Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner, William R. O'Donovan, and William Lloyd Garrison. Many of the photographic portraits are unidentified. Artwork includes sketches, drawings, prints, and a small number of notes made by Page in the course of painting portraits.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 7 series. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.

Series 1: Biographical Materials and Artifacts, 1847-1917 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1815-1942 (Boxes 1-4, 9-10; 3.2 linear feet)

Series 3: Notes and Writings, 1839-1888, 1949 (Boxes 4-5, OV 10; 1.3 linear feet)

Series 4: Personal Business Records, 1848-1932 (Boxes 5 and 9; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 5: Printed Materials, 1845-1938 (Boxes 5-7, 9, OV 11; 1.6 linear feet)

Series 6: Photographs, 1845-1947 (Boxes 7-9, OV 12, MGP 5-6; 1.4 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, 1856-1874 (Box 8, OV 13-16, rolled documents 17-19; 0.6 linear feet and 3 rolled documents)
Biographical Note:
The painter William Page was born in 1811 in Albany, NY. He attended public schools in New York City, and after working briefly in the law firm of Frederick de Peyster, was placed in the studio of the painter/engraver James Herring in 1825, where he received his first formal art training. He took classes at the National Academy of Design the year it was formed, in 1826, under Samuel F.B. Morse, and in 1827 he was awarded one of the National Academy's first annual student prizes.

Page joined the Presbyterian church and attended Phillips Academy and Amherst with the intention of becoming a minister, but his artistic ability won out, and by 1830 he was painting commissioned portraits in Albany, Rochester, and New York. He married Lavinia Twibill in 1833, and they had three daughters between 1834 and 1839. He joined the American Academy and served on its board of directors in 1835. He exhibited at the American Academy, the National Academy of Design, the Boston Athenaeum, and other venues throughout the 1830s. Favorable reviews brought steady portrait commissions, including John Quincy Adams and the New York governor William L. Marcy. He was made a full member of the National Academy in 1837.

In the 1840s, Page's reputation and maturity as a painter grew. His first wife left him around 1840, and in 1843 he married Sarah Dougherty. The couple moved to Albany, Boston, and back to New York seeking portrait commissions and patronage. He became friends with the poet James Russell Lowell and the writer and publisher Charles Frederick Briggs, two writers and editors who helped to promote his artwork in Boston and New York and published his theoretical writings. In 1844, Lowell dedicated his first published book of poetry to Page, and the following year, Briggs published a series of articles by Page in the Broadway Journal, entitled "The Art of the Use of Color in Imitation in Painting." The series described Page's arduous experiments with color and glazes, and his ideas about correspondences between spirituality and the natural world as expressed in art.

In 1850, Page traveled to Florence, Italy, where he painted several copies of the works of Titian in the galleries of the Uffizi and Pitti palaces, studying his use of color and further developing his own experimental techniques. He became friends with the sculptor Hiram Powers, who introduced him to the writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg, a Christian metaphysician whose ideas fueled Page's interest in the spiritual aspects of art. In 1852, Page moved to Rome, a city with an international artists' community and a strong market for art. Page found a loyal following in Rome's large circle of American ex-patriates, including the sculptors Thomas Crawford and Harriet Hosmer, the actress Charlotte Cushman, and the poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, all of whom sat for portraits by Page.

In 1854, Page's second wife left him amidst public scandal, and he sank deep in debt to his bankers at Packenham and Hooker, an English firm that by 1856 had a lien on all the paintings in his studio. That same year Page met Sophia Stevens Hitchcock, an American widow traveling in Rome with Bertha Olmsted, Frederick Law Olmsted's sister. Hitchcock was from Barnet, Vermont and came to Europe after her first husband died in 1852 after only a year of marriage. She traveled to England and Paris, where she wrote regular columns on local customs and events for the New York Tribune that were published under the by-line "An American Woman in Paris." She and Page met in Rome in 1856, and in October 1857, after Page traveled back the United States to obtain a divorce from Sarah Dougherty, he and Sophia married.

The couple stayed in Rome until 1860. His wife's three brothers, all businessmen, helped to promote his artwork in Europe and America. Page's paintings of this period include several Venus subjects, one of which was championed by his most loyal patrons, who raised $3000 by subscription to buy the painting for the Boston Athenaeum. A later Venus painting was rejected from the Paris salon for indecency, a controversy that was later leveraged for publicity in a touring exhibition in the United States.

The Pages returned to the United States in 1860 and settled in Tottenville, New York. They had six children between 1858 and 1870. Page had a studio at Eagleswood, NJ, and later in the Studio Building on 10th Street in Manhattan, where he held a large exhibition in 1867. In the 1860s, he painted a self-portrait and a companion portrait of Sophia set in Rome, as well as a series of civil war heroes including Robert Gould Shaw, Winfield Scott, and David Farragut. Photographs played a consistent part in Page's technique of portraiture, and he is known to have worked with the photographer Matthew Brady, who attended art classes early on with Page, as well as the photographers Sarony and Charles Williamson, who taught classes on drawing from enlarged photo-transparencies. Brady photographs taken for Page include David Farragut and Reuben Fenton.

Page lectured frequently on Titian and Venetian art, a subject in which he was considered an expert, and on painting technique and his philosophical ideas about nature, art, and spirituality. In 1871, Page was elected the president of the National Academy of Design, a post he held until 1873, but his poor health following a collapse in 1872 limited his accomplishments in office. Despite these limitations, he continued to paint, including portraits of General Grant, an idealized portrait of the president based on early photographs and Charles Sumner. He also became interested in portraiture of William Shakespeare around this time, and his studies resulted in a book, Shakespeare's Portraits, a bust based on existing portraiture, and a full-length portrait entitled "Shakespeare Reading," based on Page's measurements of a supposed death mask in Darmstadt, Germany, which he went to inspect against the advice of his doctor in 1874.

In 1877, another collapse left Page incapacitated for the remainder of his life. Sophia Page tried editing and publishing his writings and lectures, but with little success. Page died in 1885. A life marked by personal scandal ended the same, when two of his daughters from his first marriage contested his will, tying up his estate in a lengthy and public probate trial. Their suit was dismissed in 1889, and Sophia Page died in 1892.

This biography relies heavily on Joshua Taylor's William Page: The American Titian (1957).
Separated Material:
The Archives of American Art also holds materials lent for microfilming (reel 1091) including letters from Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, Lydia Maria Child, Charlotte Cushman, James Russell Lowell, Charles A. Dana, and others. Lent material was returned to the donor and is This material is not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Provenance:
A portion of the collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Mrs. Lesslie S. (Pauline Page) Howell, William Page's grandaughter, in 1963. William S. Page, Pauline Page Howell's nephew, donated additional papers in 1964 and 1973. Pauline Page Howell and William S. Page also loaned a group of letters to the Archives in 1964 which were microfilmed on reel 1091 and then returned to the donors. Mrs. Howell's son, William Page Howell, donated material in 1980.

Letters of Charles F. Briggs to James Russell Lowell (Series 2.2) were a part of Pauline Page Howell's 1963 donation to the Archives of American Art. They had been given to Mrs. Howell by Charlotte Briggs, daughter of Charles F. Briggs, because of her father's lifelong friendship with William Page. Letters from Lowell to Briggs are in the James Russell Lowell papers in Houghton Library at Harvard University.
Restrictions:
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
Rights:
The William Page and Page Family papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Works of art  Search this
Portrait painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Portrait painting -- 19th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Sketches
Poems
Drawings
Diaries
Citation:
William Page and Page Family papers, 1815-1947, bulk 1843-1892. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.pagewill
See more items in:
William Page and Page Family papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-pagewill
Online Media:

National Academy of Design records

Creator:
National Academy of Design (U.S.)  Search this
Names:
American Federation of Arts  Search this
Abbey, Edwin Austin, 1852-1911  Search this
Durand, Asher Brown, 1796-1886  Search this
Lanyon, Ellen  Search this
Ranger, Henry Ward, 1858-1916  Search this
Extent:
92.7 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Interviews
Date:
1817-2012
Summary:
The records of New York City's National Academy of Design measure 92.7 linear feet and date from 1817-2012. The records pertain to all three constituents of the tripartite organization consisting of the Academy, a membership body of artists founded in 1825; the school, founded at the same time to promote arts education; and the exhibition program, inaugurated in 1826. Extensive administrative records include minutes, committee files, director files, annual reports, constitutions, and correspondence and subject files of council officers. Exhibition records, also substantive, date to the Academy's first annual exhibition and include gallery and special exhibitions, as well as exhibitions at the Academy's museum, established in 1979. The collection also includes gifts and funding files, especially relating to endowments and prizes; membership records; National Academy Association records; Ranger Fund assignments; extensive files pertaining to the school's administration, courses of instruction, registrations, and attendance; twenty scrapbooks containing clippings and ephemera; Society of American Artists records; correspondence and ephemera from other organizations; transcripts from oral histories with Academy members; extensive photographic material documenting artists, members, the school, exhibitions, buildings, and artwork created by Academy members; artist files containing correspondence, writings, and sketches from those associated with the Academy; and assorted printed material and ephemera.
Scope and Contents:
The records of New York City's National Academy of Design measure 92.7 linear feet and date from 1817-2012. The records pertain to all three constituents of the tripartite organization consisting of the Academy, a membership body of artists founded in 1825; the school, founded at the same time to promote arts education; and the exhibition program, inaugurated in 1826. Extensive administrative records include minutes, committee files, director files, annual reports, constitutions, and correspondence and subject files of council officers. Exhibition records, also substantive, date to the Academy's first annual exhibition and include gallery and special exhibitions, as well as exhibitions at the Academy's museum, established in 1979. The collection also includes gifts and funding files, especially relating to endowments and prizes; membership records; National Academy Association records; Ranger Fund assignments; extensive files pertaining to the school's administration, courses of instruction, registrations, and attendance; twenty scrapbooks containing clippings and ephemera; Society of American Artists records; correspondence and ephemera from other organizations; transcripts from oral histories with Academy members; extensive photographic material documenting artists, members, the school, exhibitions, buildings, and artwork created by Academy members; artist files containing correspondence, writings, and sketches from those associated with the Academy; and assorted printed material and ephemera.

The Academy minutes and committee files consist of official, original, and transcribed proceedings for the council, annual, business, and some committee meetings, as well as related correspondence, reports, financial documents, notes, drafts, and ballots pertaining to the Academy's administration and activities from its 1825 founding until 2006. As an organization actively engaged in the development of art and art education in the United States, the Academy minutes and committee files are a valuable resource on subjects and topics in the Academy's history; in particular, its founding, administration, school, and exhibition program.

Director files date from 1942-1990 and document the activities of four of the Academy's chief administrators, including Vernon Porter (1950-1966), Earl Tyler (1966-1967), Alice Melrose (1967-1977), and John H. Dobkin (1978-1990). Items include correspondence, memoranda, minutes, and printed material.

Annual reports, dating from 1828-2003, summarize the activities of the Academy over the course of a year, and may include presidents' reports, treasurers' reports, audits of financial operations by public accountants, and printed annual reports containing summaries from multiple council officers. Information pertains to the year's activities including finances, exhibitions, membership, the school, committee activities, awards, and other business.

Academy constitutions date from 1826-2012 and include the printed constitutions and by-laws as well as constitutional proposals. Constitutions and by-laws name the current council officials, professors, academicians, associates, and honorary members, and state the mission and guidelines for operation in regards to membership, officers, annual meetings, elections, school, exhibitions, and how the constitution can be amended or altered. Constitutional proposals contain amendment drafts, alterations, and related correspondence.

Council officer files, dating from 1848-1980, contain the correspondence and subjects files of Academy officers—presidents, vice presidents, corresponding secretaries, and treasurers—concerning all matters of Academy business and operations including membership, gifts and funds, the federal charter, exhibitions, juries, the school, scholarships, committee affairs, anniversaries, publicity, administrative matters, resignations, and relationships with other organizations.

General administrative files date from 1825-1982 and include ledgers, certificates, correspondence, and legal documents pertaining to the Academy's founding, building, financial accounts, art collection, and other administrative matters.

Exhibition files, dating from 1826-2003, document the Academy's long exhibition history and includes annual, gallery, special, and museum exhibitions. Files may include exhibition catalogs, photographs, press clippings, sales records, and correspondence related to jury selection, awards and prizes, and logistical planning. Files pertaining to the Academy's annual exhibitions comprise a bulk of the series. Held since 1826, the Annuals were organized and curated by Academy members, and considered to be an important and sweeping survey of contemporary American art.

Gifts and funding files date from 1860-2009 and include financial documents, ledgers, legal material, and correspondence concerning the bequests, endowments, donations, and other gifts that financed the operations of the Academy and school. A significant number of records pertain to the Abbey Trust Fund and the Archer M. Hunting Fund.

Membership files, 1826-2012, document Academy members, honorary members, fellows, and the nominations and elections whereby members were voted into the Academy. Materials include registers, certificates, nomination ledgers and proposals, candidate biographies, and ballots.

The National Academy Association files date from 1911-1959 and contain a constitution, plan, and agreement, as well as correspondence, meeting minutes, and reports for the Association, incorporated in 1912 with the aim to erect a building shared by several New York art societies. At the time of incorporation, the Association consisted of members from the National Academy of Design, American Water Color Society, American Institute of Architects, Architectural League of New York, New York Water Color Club, National Sculpture Society, Municipal Art Society, Society of Beaux-Arts Architects, Mural Painters, Society of Illustrators, and a number of city representatives and citizens.

The Ranger Fund assignment files, 1919-2008, document the distribution of artworks by living American artists to institutions throughout the United States, in accordance with the will of Henry Ward Ranger. The Ranger Fund was initiated to stimulate public interest in the work of contemporary American painters in 1919, when the Academy received a bequest from Henry Ward Ranger, totaling $400,000. Ranger stated in his will that the capital should be invested and the income used as a purchase fund to facilitate gifts of paintings by living American artists to arts institutions throughout the United States. Files document the assignment of particular works of art to institutions through the official agreement, related correspondence, and in some instances, photographs of the artwork.

Extensive school records, dating from 1826-2008, contain administrative files, enrollment records, course files, student affairs files, and printed material documenting all aspects of the school's activities aligned with the Academy's mission to educate aspiring professional artists. A bulk of this series consists of student course registrations, documented in registers, then on index cards beginning in the 1930s. While information collected varied over the decades, registrations document student names and the year, and may additionally include course name, instructor, and cost.

Twenty Academy scrapbooks document the organization's activities from 1828-1939 and include clippings and ephemera. Three of the scrapbooks are devoted to specific topics, including one for the Society of American Artists, one for both the Society of American Artists and the Society of American Fakirs, and one for the Academy's centennial exhibition.

The Society of American Artists files, 1878-1906, document the formation of the Society as a departure from the Academy in 1877, its independent operations and activities, and its eventual consolidation with the Academy in 1906. The Society's members have included Edwin Abbey, James Carroll Beckwith, Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, George Inness Jr., John La Farge, Albert Pinkham Ryder, among many others.

Files from other organizations date from 1817-1997 and may include correspondence, ledgers, and printed material. Many of these organizations had business with the Academy, and records pertain to events, meetings, and exhibitions. Notable organizations include the American Academy of Fine Arts, American Federation of Arts, American Watercolor Society, Art Students League, Fine Arts Federation of New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Etching Club, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and Salmagundi Club.

Oral history transcripts date from 2002-2007. Eight comprehensive interviews, conducted by Avis Berman for the Academy, are with Academy members and cover all aspects of the artists' lives, including family, early life, beginning career, mentors, contemporaries, influences, patrons, awards, residencies, as well as the artists' relationship with the Academy. The interview transcripts provide first-hand accounts of the organization, particularly from circa 1940 up to the time of the interview. Artists interviewed include Will Barnet, Hyman Bloom, Richard Haas, Ellen Lanyon, Jules Olitski, Bernard Olshan, Paul Resika, and Dorothea Rockburne.

Photographic material, dating from 1845-2010, includes a wide variety of formats and processes including 19th and 20th photographic prints, glass plate negatives, copy prints, contact sheets, slides, and 35mm negatives. Subjects include artists and others associated with the Academy, the school, exhibitions and events, Academy buildings, artwork, and reference photographs. Many 19th century photographs contain descriptive annotations. Supplementary inventories and guides prepared by Academy archivists are scattered throughout the series.

Artist files date from 1826-2004 and include the correspondence, writings, manuscripts, diaries, exhibition catalogs, and clippings of many notable artists involved with the Academy, including Asher B. Durand and Rembrandt Peale. Of particular note are two notebooks Durand gifted to the Academy, both containing notes and sketches from anatomy lectures.

While printed material is scattered throughout, the final series collects a small number of additional announcements, brochures, clippings, illustrations, and other ephemera not filed in other series.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as nineteen series.

Series 1: Minutes and Committee Files, 1825-2006 (11.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-11, BV 100-106)

Series 2: Director Files, 1942-1990 (0.5 linear feet; Box 11)

Series 3: Annual Reports, 1828-2003, circa 2010 (2.1 linear feet; Boxes 11-13, OV 139-142)

Series 4: Constitutions, 1826-2012 (1.1 linear feet; Boxes 13-14)

Series 5: Council Officers, 1848-1980 (4 linear feet; Boxes 14-18)

Series 6: General Administration, 1825-1982 (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 18, 126)

Series 7: Exhibitions, 1826-2003, 2008 (14.4 linear feet; Boxes 18-33)

Series 8: Gifts and Funding, 1860-2009 (4.1 linear feet; Boxes 33-37)

Series 9: Membership, 1826-2012 (3.4 linear feet; Boxes 37-39, 127-131)

Series 10: National Academy Association, 1911-1959 (0.4 linear feet; Box 39)

Series 11: Ranger Fund Assignments, 1919-2008 (4.3 linear feet; Boxes 39-44)

Series 12: School, 1826-2008 (28.5 linear feet; Boxes 44-56, 68-99)

Series 13: Scrapbooks, 1828-1939 (4 linear feet; Box 56, BV 107-125)

Series 14: Society of American Artists, 1878-1906 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 56-57)

Series 15: Other Organizations, 1817-1997 (1.8 linear feet; Boxes 57-59, 131)

Series 16: Oral History Transcripts, 2002-2007 (0.7 linear feet; Box 59)

Series 17: Photographic Material, 1845-2010 (6.1 linear feet; Boxes 60-63, 131-138, OV 143-144)

Series 18: Artist Files, 1826-2004 (3.5 linear feet; Boxes 63-66)

Series 19: Printed Material, 1839-1954 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 67, 131, OV 145)
Biographical / Historical:
The National Academy of Design (1825- ) based in New York City, is a tripartite organization consisting of a membership body of artists, a school, and an exhibition program. The Academy was founded in 1825 by a group of professional artists with the mission to promote the fine arts in America through exhibition and education. Originally named the New York Drawing Association, the Academy was the first organization in the United States established and managed by professional artists. Samuel F.B. Morse, the Academy's first president, was influenced by the organization of the Royal Academy in London, which was comprised of professional artist members and elected government council, an art school, and a venue for exhibitions. After unsuccessful negotiations to unite with the American Academy of Fine Arts, the New York Drawing Association reformed as the National Academy of The Arts of Design on January 19, 1826. Among the founders were mostly young artists who became prominent figures in American art, including Frederick S. Agate, Thomas Cole, Thomas S. Cummings, Asher B. Durand, John Frazee, Charles C. Ingham, Henry Inman, Gerlando Marsiglia, Samuel F. B. Morse, Samuel L. Waldo, and Charles Cushing Wright.

The first Academy members were elected in January 1826, and levels of membership were established shortly thereafter. Originally there were four levels of Academy membership: associates, academicians, artists, and honorary corresponding members. The category of artists was eliminated in 1829, and the honorary member category, established to recognize American artists living outside New York, distinguished foreign artists, and patrons and friends of the Academy, was eliminated in 1862 (the constitution was not amended with this change until 1896). Since 1869, the residency requirement for election to active membership was eliminated and membership was opened to all American artists. In 1920, the classification of honorary corresponding member was re-introduced to recognize representatives of other national academies. With the 1997 constitution, the honorary corresponding member classification was again eliminated, and in 1994 the associate category was eliminated.

Artists are proposed for membership by academicians through the membership committee and are elected for life by a sixty percent majority, based on recognized excellence and significant contributions to the field. Procedures and rules for nominating and choosing new academicians changed over the years, as detailed in the constitutions. Associates were at one time required to present a portrait of themselves upon election and academicians were required to provide an additional representative work upon election. With the elimination of the category of associate in 1994, only one representative work is currently required. These works of art become part of the Academy's permanent collection.

The original classes of professional artists were painting, sculpture, architecture, and engraving. These professional classes were modified over the years. In 1936 the engraving class was made more comprehensive, including all of the graphic arts. Watercolor was added as a class in 1943 and was codified in the 1945 constitution. However, the division into five distinct classes started to create difficulties in how specific works of art were to be categorized. In 1981 the council eased the rules regarding separate media classification so that members could submit a work in any medium to the annual exhibitions regardless of the class to which they had been elected. The constitution of 1994 restated four professional classes—painting, sculpture, graphics, and architecture—which were further reduced in the 2011 constitution to two: visual arts and architecture.

Until 2009, the governing body of the Academy was the council. The seven officers of the council were president, vice-president, treasurer, assistant treasurer, corresponding secretary, assistant corresponding secretary and recording secretary, all of whom were required to be academicians. In 2009, a new constitution provided for a board of governors, replacing the council. The five officers of the board of governors are chair, vice-chair, president, vice-president, and treasurer. Only the offices of president and vice-president are required to be held by academicians.

Central to the Academy's mission, the school began with an anatomy lecture for the New York Drawing Association, delivered by Dr. Frederick G. King in November 1825. The first drawing session took place in November 1826 in the Old Alms House at City Hall Park with two academicians and twenty students. In the school's early years, professional artists met with students to draw from plaster casts of antique sculpture in the academic tradition. Both lectures and studio training were central the school's early curricula. Life classes, the practice of drawing from live models, were introduced in 1837, but only to advanced male students. A life class for women was not instituted until 1857, even though women were allowed membership to the Academy since its beginning. Due to financial difficulties at the Academy, the school was forced to move locations and shut down its operations for extended periods. Mounting dissatisfaction and frustration led several students and Lemuel E. Wilmarth, one of the school's leaders and first full-time professional instructor, to leave the Academy in 1875 and form a new school, the Art Students League. While charging tuition was unpopular, the Academy realized that it was necessary to ensure the school's sustainability, and implemented fee structures with varying success over the second half of the 19th century and first half of the 20th. Eventually, tuition was established by 1951, when the school was reopened at a new location, 5th Avenue and 89th Street.

Exhibitions have always been an important activity for the Academy, even prior to the opening of the National Academy Museum in 1979. Since 1826, the Academy has held annual exhibitions intended to reflect contemporary art currents in America. Any American artist was eligible to submit work to be reviewed by a jury of selection, comprised of academicians. Throughout the 19th century, the annual exhibitions at the Academy were one of the most significant and influential in the country. The selection process for these exhibitions was a critical topic, at times actively discussed in the press, and continually undergoing modification and change. In addition to the Annuals, the galleries of the Academy were often rented or loaned to outside organizations such as the American Watercolor Society, Audubon Artists, and the National Association of Women Artists. The galleries also mounted special exhibitions curated by its members and hosted a certain number of travelling exhibitions organized by other museums or art organizations. The museum, opened in 1979, hosted and presented major exhibitions, many focusing on historic European subjects.

Official Names of the Academy 1825-2017

1825 -- The New York Drawing Association

1826 -- The National Academy of The Arts of Design

1828 -- The National Academy of Design

1997 -- The National Academy Museum and School of Fine Art

2017 -- The National Academy of Design

National Academy of Design Meeting, Exhibition, and School Locations

1826 -- Old Alms House at City Hall Park in lower Manhattan

1827-1830 -- Chambers Street over the Arcade Baths

1831-1840 -- Corner of Nassau and Beckman Streets, the Mercantile Library on the third floor of Clinton Hall

1841 to 1849 -- 346 Broadway (at Leonard Street), the third and fourth floors of the New York Society Library

1850-1854 -- 663 Broadway, where the Academy erected a suite of six galleries

1855-1856 -- 548 Broadway (over Dr. Chapin's Church)

1857 -- 663 Broadway

1858-1861 -- 10th Street and 4th Avenue, the upper floor of a building

1861-1863 -- 625 Broadway, the Institute of Art

1865-1899 -- 23rd Street and Fourth Avenue (now Park Avenue South)

1899-1940 -- 109th Street and Amsterdam Avenue; exhibition galleries at 215 West 57th Street

1940-2017 -- 1083 Fifth Avenue at East 89th Street
Provenance:
The bulk of the collection was donated by the National Academy of Design in 2018. The trustees' ledger book in series 6 was donated in 1979 by Warder Cadbury of the Adirondack Museum; it is unclear how Cadbury acquired the ledger. Microfilm reels 798-799 containing transcriptions of minutes were given to the Archives by Lois Fink in 1974.
Restrictions:
This bulk of this collection is open for research. Boxes 63-66 are temporarily closed to researchers due to archival processing and digitization. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Function:
Art Schools -- New York (State) -- New York
Arts organizations -- New York (State) -- New York
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Interviews
Citation:
National Academy of Design records, 1817-2012. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.natiacad
See more items in:
National Academy of Design records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-natiacad

Dorothy C. Miller papers

Creator:
Miller, Dorothy Canning, 1904-2003  Search this
Names:
Betty Parsons Gallery  Search this
Chase Manhattan Bank -- Art collections  Search this
Federal Art Project  Search this
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden  Search this
Mark Rothko Foundation  Search this
Municipal Art Exhibition (1st : 1934 : New York, N.Y.)  Search this
PepsiCo, Inc.  Search this
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- Art collections  Search this
Rockefeller University  Search this
Smith College -- Students  Search this
Smith College. Museum of Art  Search this
World Trade Center (New York, N.Y.) -- Art collections  Search this
Asher, Elise, 1914-  Search this
Barr, Alfred H., Jr., 1902-1981  Search this
Bontecou, Lee, 1931-  Search this
Byars, James Lee  Search this
Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960  Search this
Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976  Search this
Canady, John  Search this
Charlton, Maryette  Search this
Christo, 1935-  Search this
Chryssa, 1933-  Search this
Coggeshall, Calvert, 1907-1990  Search this
Copley, Alfred L.  Search this
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964  Search this
DeFeo, Jay, 1929-1989  Search this
Feininger, Lyonel, 1871-1956  Search this
Feitelson, Lorser, 1898-1978  Search this
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948  Search this
Guggenheim, Peggy, 1898-  Search this
Hartigan, Grace  Search this
Hicks, Edward, 1780-1849  Search this
Horwitt, Will  Search this
Johns, Jasper, 1930-  Search this
Karpel, Bernard, 1911-1986  Search this
Levy, Julien  Search this
Mather, Eleanore Price, 1910-  Search this
Matisse, Pierre, 1900-1989  Search this
Nevelson, Louise, 1899-1988  Search this
Newman, Barnett, 1905-1970  Search this
Noguchi, Isamu, 1904-1988  Search this
O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986  Search this
Pereira, I. Rice (Irene Rice), 1902-1971  Search this
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973  Search this
Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008  Search this
Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967  Search this
Rockefeller, Nelson A. (Nelson Aldrich), 1908-1979 -- Art collections  Search this
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970  Search this
Sage, Kay  Search this
Scharf, William, 1927-  Search this
Sheeler, Charles, 1883-1965  Search this
Sterne, Hedda, 1910-2011  Search this
Still, Clyfford, 1904-1980  Search this
Extent:
34.6 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Sketches
Christmas cards
Drawings
Date:
1853-2013
bulk 1920-1996
Summary:
The papers of contemporary and folk art curator, historian, and consultant Dorothy C. Miller measure 34.6 linear feet and date from 1853-2013, with the bulk of the material dating from 1920 to 1996. The papers primarily concern Miller's private art consulting work outside of her curatorial work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Found are scattered biographical materials, extensive correspondence and subject files, and project files for her art consulting work for the Rockefeller family, Rockefeller University, Chase Manhattan Bank, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the World Trade Center, and other miscellaneous corporate and private clients. Miller's work as a trustee and committee member of various public and private boards and commissions is also represented here. Additionally, the papers contain Miller's research files on Edward Hicks and folk art, and a small number of files of her husband Holger Cahill about his work as Director of the Federal Art Project. There is a scattered documentation of Miller's early curatorial work with Holger Cahill on the First Municipal Art Exhibition (1934) held at the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. Also found is Dorothy Miller's collection of artists' Christmas cards and photographs of Miller and others. An addition to the papers includes biographical material; family papers; correspondence; professional files; art collection and client files; printed material; and photographic material. While a small number professional files are included, the majority of the addition relates to her personal life, including correspondence with her husband Holger Cahill, and files pertaining to her personal art collection.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of contemporary and folk art curator, historian, and consultant Dorothy C. Miller measure 34.6 linear feet and date from 1853-2013, with the bulk of the material dating from 1920 to 1996. The papers primarily concern Miller's art consulting work outside of her curatorial work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York city. Found are scattered biographical materials, extensive correspondence and subject files, and project files for her art consulting work for the Rockefeller family, Rockefeller University, Chase Manhattan Bank, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and other miscellaneous corporate and private clients. Her work as a trustee and committee member of various public and private boards and commissions is also represented here. Additionally, the papers contain Miller's research files on Edward Hicks and folk art, and a small number of files related to Miller's husband Holger Cahill and his work as Director of the Federal Art Project. There is important documentation of Miller's early curatorial work with Holger Cahill on the First Municipal Art Exhibition (1934) held at the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. Artwork includes scattered sketches and drawings enclosed with correspondence and original Christmas cards sent to Miller by various artists. Photographs of Miller date from 1926 - circa 1950.

Scattered biographical material mostly concerns Miller's education at Smith College and awards and honorary degrees that she received. Extensive correspondence and subject files document her professional and personal relationships with family, friends, colleagues, museums, art dealers and artists, as well as her research interests. Individual files may contain a mix of correspondence with, as well as about, the person or subject, compiled research documents, printed materials, and scattered photographs. Files are found for Lewin Alcopley, Alfred Barr, Betty Parsons Gallery, Cahill family members, Lee Bontecou, James Byars, Holger Cahill, Alexander Calder, Christo, Chryssa, Calvert Coggeshall, John Canaday, Maryette Charlton, Stuart Davis, Jay DeFeo, Lorser Feitelson, Arshile Gorky, Peggy Guggenheim, Grace Hartigan, Will Horwitt, Jasper Johns, Julien Levy, Pierre Matisse, Louise Nevelson, Barnett Newman, Isamu Nauchi, Georgia O'Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, Kay Sage, Charles Sheeler, Hedda Sterne, travel, Clyfford Still, William Scharf, among many others.

Detailed records of Miller's art consulting and advisory work for the Rockefeller family include correspondence with Nelson A. Rockefeller and David Rockefeller about building their personal collections of contemporary and folk art, meeting notes and minutes, research notes and writings, and printed materials. The largest group of records concerns the writing and publication of The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection: Masterpieces of Modern Art. Miller's curatorial work for David Rockefeller and the Rockefeller University's Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Hall art collection is documented in Series 4 through curatorial files, correspondence, printed materials, photographs and slides, artists files, and design records.

Series 5 contains files relating to Miller's work as the first art consutant to the Chase Manhattan Bank and the building of the corporation's extensive collection of contemporary art. There is a draft of Miller's text for the bank's published catalog, Art At Work: Chase Manhattan Bank Collection. A smaller set of records is found in Series 6 documenting Miller's work on the Art Committee of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, including files about selecting artwork for the World Trade Center during the early 1970s. Files concerning Miller's advisory work with additional public and private clients, boards, and commissions are arranged in Series 7 and 8 and concern the Amstar Corporation, Fidelity International Bank, First National Bank of Tampa, First National City Bank, Inmont Corporation, Pepsico, United Mutual Savings Bank, the Empire State Plaza Art Commission, the Hancock Shaker Village, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Mark Rothko Foundation, the Museum of American Folk Art, and the Smith College Museum of Art.

Miller's papers include a small group of files relating to the WPA Federal Art Project (FAP)created by her husband Holger Cahill when he was director of the FAP, Holger Cahill. A small series is devoted to Miller's work with Eleanore Price Mather researching and writing Edward Hicks: His Peaceable Kingdom and Other Paintings. A series of general research files contain miscellaneous research notes and photographs related to Miller's interests in early American art and folk art. Series 12 contains important documentation of Miller's early curatorial work with Holger Cahill on the First Municipal Art Exhibition (1934) held at the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center.

Works of art are primarily in the form of Christmas cards sent to Miller by various artists including Elise Asher, Lyonel Feininger, Bernard Karpel, and Irene Rice Pereira. A small group of photographs includes photographs of Miller from 1926-circa 1950 and a few photographs of others.

The addition includes biographical material; family papers; correspondence; professional files; art collection and client files; printed material; and photographic material. While a small number of professional files are found here, the majority of material relates to Miller's personal life, including correspondence with her husband Holger Cahill, and files pertaining to her personal art collection. Scattered correspondence, inventories, research, and notes created by curator and donor of the papers, Wendy Jeffers, are found throughout the collection. These materials date from the 1980s-2000s.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 15 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1917-1986 (Box 1; 0.3 linear ft.)

Series 2: Correspondence and Subject Files, circa 1912-1992 (Boxes 1-8, OV 27; 7.2 linear ft.)

Series 3: Rockefeller Family Art Collections, circa 1949-1985 (Boxes 8-12, 25; 3.9 linear ft.)

Series 4: Rockefeller University Collection, 1923-1984 (Boxes 12-13, OV 27; 1.0 linear ft.)

Series 5: Chase Manhattan Bank Collection, 1959-circa 1985 (Boxes 13-14, 26; 1.4 linear ft.)

Series 6: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Art Committee, circa 1965-1987 (Boxes 14-15, OV 27; 0.8 linear ft.)

Series 7: Other Corporate and Private Clients, 1968-1984 (Boxes 15-16; 1.3 linear ft.)

Series 8: Other Boards, Committees and Commissions, 1925, 1949-1985 (Boxes 16-20; 3.6 linear ft.)

Series 9: Works Project Administration Federal Art Project Files, 1935-1979 (Box 20, OV 27; 0.5 linear ft.)

Series 10: Edward Hicks Catalog, 1934-1984 (Boxes 20-22; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 11: Research Files, 1930s-1980 (Boxes 22-23; 0.8 linear ft.)

Series 12: Exhibition Files, 1932-1986 (Box 23; 0.6 linear ft.)

Series 13: Works of Art, circa 1924-circa 1982 (Boxes 23-25; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 14: Photographs, 1926-circa 1970s (Boxes 24-25; 0.3 linear ft.)

Series 15: Addition to the Dorothy C. Miller Papers, 1853-2003, bulk 1920-1996 (Boxes 28-38, OVs 39-41; 9.9 linear ft.)
Biographical Note:
Dorothy Canning Miller (1904-2003) worked in New York City as a highly influential curator of contemporary and folk art at the Museum of Modern Art and as the first curator of the museum. Later, she was the primary art consultant for Nelson A. Rockefeller, the Rockefeller family, Rockefeller University, Chase Manhattan Bank, and the Port Authority of and New Jersey. Dorothy Miller was also married to Holger Cahill, director of the WPA Federal Art Project.

Dorothy C. Miller was born in Hopedale, Massachusetts in 1904 and received her Bachelor of Arts from Smith College in 1925. She was first introduced to modern art through classes at the Newark Museum taught by John Cotton Dana and Holger Cahill. Miller joined the curatorial staff of the Newark Museum in 1926. The museum was one of the first to organize exhibitions of American folk art, American Primitives (1930-1931) and American Folk Sculpture (1931-1932). Miller worked with Cahill and others on the exhibition and developed a life-long interest in folk art.

After four years at the Newark Museum, Miller moved to New York city, hoping to get involved with the newly opened Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and, likely, to be with Holger Cahill, with whom she lived with on 8th Street prior to their marriage in 1938. Between 1930 and 1932 she took odd jobs and worked with Mrs. Henry Lang cataloging, researching and installing Lang's collection of Native American art Lang donated to the Montclair Art Museum. At the same time, Holger Cahill was serving as Acting Director of the Museum of Modern Art during an absence of Director Alfred H. Barr. In 1932, Cahill asked Miller to assist him with curating the American Painting and Sculpture, 1862-1932 exhibition at MoMA, and together they also curated the First Municipal Art Exhibition, 1934 at the Rockefeller Center.

In 1934, Barr hired Miller as his assistant and one year later appointed her as MoMA's first curator. Miller spent the next 35 years organizing many of this country's most important exhibitions of contemporary art and building personal relationships with new artists and photographers, as well as the collections of MoMA. Miller retired from MOMA in 1969 and focused more on her art consulting work begun in the late 1950s.

Dorothy Miller's most notable client was Nelson A. Rockefeller. She assisted and advised Rockefeller as he acquired a vast personal collection of modern art - some of which was later donated to MoMA. Just prior to her retirement, Miller organized a large exhibition of Rockefeller's collection. The exhibition catalog written by Miller was the basis for the book she worked on with Rockefeller up until and following his death in 1979, ultimately published as The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection: Masterpieces of Modern Art. In the preface, Rockefeller credited Miller with being one of the four people to whom he was indebted "for the understanding and endless joy I have found in the collecting of modern art in all forms."

Miller also served as the primary art consultant for projects to furnish federal spaces, including Henry Kissinger's State Department office suite, and the official Vice-Presidential residence at the Admiral's House in Washington D.C.

In 1959 Miller was invited to join the art collection committee of the Chase Manhattan Bank and served on the committee until the mid-1980s, contributing her expertise to the development of one of this country's oldest and largest corporate collections of modern and contemporary art.

Miller was also an advisor to other members of the Rockefeller family, including David Rockefeller, and assisted with developing the art collections of Rockefeller Institute/University. From 1960 through the late 1980s Miller was a member of the art committee for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANJY) and was responsible for selecting much of the artwork for the World Trade Center in the 1970s. She served on numerous boards and commissions, including the Hancock Shaker Village, the Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Empire State Plaza in Albany, Smith College Museum of Art, and the Museum of American Folk Art. She also became a member of the Mark Rothko Foundation Board of Directors after the litigation following Rothko's death between Rothko's executors and his daughter.

In the mid-1970s Miller assisted the Whitney Museum of American with planning an exhibition and supporting catalog of the work of folk artist Edward Hicks. Although the exhibition and catalog were only partially realized in 1980, Miller and Eleanore Price Mather compiled and published a book on Hicks, Edward Hicks: His Peaceable Kingdoms and Other Paintings, published in 1983.

In 1982-1983 Miller received the Art Dealers Association Special Award, an honorary degree from Williams College, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture governor's award. In 1984 she was named honorary trustee of the Museum of Modern Art. In 1985 the Smith College Museum of Art honored her important contributions to museum connoisseurship with the exhibition Dorothy C. Miller: With An Eye to American Art.

Dorothy Miller died in 2003 at the age of 99 at her home in Greenwich, New York.
Related Material:
The Archives of American Art holds two oral history interviews with Dorothy C. Miller. The first was conducted by Paul Cummings between May 26, 1970 and September 28, 1971, and details Miller's life from childhood up to, and including, her years at the Museum of Modern Art. The second was conducted by Avis Berman on May 14, 1981 and covers Miller's relationships with Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still. Also found among the holdings of the Archives are the papers of Holger Cahill, Dorothy Miller's husband and colleague.

The Museum of Modern Art Achives holds Dorothy Miller's papers related to her curatorial work at the museum.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Dorothy C. Miller via Wendy Jeffers between 1986 and 1997, and Reid White, Executor of Miller's estate, in 2004. Two subsequent additions were donated by Wendy Jeffers in 2014 and 2015.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Dorothy C. Miller papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Artists -- United States  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Exhibitions  Search this
Art museum curators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Corporations -- Private collections  Search this
Art -- Private collections  Search this
Folk art  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Sketches
Christmas cards
Drawings
Citation:
Dorothy C. Miller papers, 1853-2013, bulk 1920-1996. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.milldoro
See more items in:
Dorothy C. Miller papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-milldoro
Online Media:

Esther McCoy papers

Creator:
McCoy, Esther  Search this
Names:
Historic American Buildings Survey  Search this
Society of Architectural Historians  Search this
University of California, Los Angeles. School of Architecture and Urban Planning  Search this
Ain, Gregory, 1908-1988  Search this
Barragán, Luis, 1902-  Search this
Bradbury, Ray, 1920-  Search this
Davidson, Julius Ralph, b. 1889  Search this
Dreiser, Theodore, 1871-1945  Search this
Ellwood, Craig  Search this
Gill, Irving, 1870-1936  Search this
Grotz, Dorothy  Search this
Hollein, Hans, 1934-  Search this
Jones, A. Quincy (Archie Quincy), 1913-1979  Search this
Maybeck, Bernard R.  Search this
Neutra, Richard Joseph, 1892-1970  Search this
O'Gorman, Juan, 1905-  Search this
Rand, Marvin  Search this
Schindler, R. M. (Rudolph M.), 1887-1953  Search this
Shulman, Julius  Search this
Soriano, Rafael, 1920-  Search this
Watanabe, Makoto  Search this
Worlidge, T. (Thomas), 1700-1766  Search this
Extent:
44.4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Diaries
Etchings
Photographs
Sound recordings
Interviews
Video recordings
Slides (photographs)
Transcripts
Drawings
Memoirs
Date:
circa 1876-1990
bulk 1938-1989
Summary:
The papers of Southern California architectural historian, critic, and writer Esther McCoy measure 44.4 linear feet and date from 1876 to 1990 (bulk 1938-1989). The collection documents McCoy's career, as well as her family and personal life through biographical material, extensive correspondence, personal and professional writings, project files, Southern California architects' files, clippings and other printed material, a large collection of photographs and slides, and taped interviews of Southern California modern architects.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Southern California architectural historian, critic, and writer Esther McCoy measure 44.4 linear feet and date from 1876 to 1990 (bulk 1938-1989). The collection documents McCoy's career, as well as her family and personal life through biographical material, extensive correspondence, personal and professional writings, project files, Southern California architects' files, clippings and other printed material, a large collection of photographs and slides, and taped interviews of Southern California modern architects.

Biographical and family material consists of awards, resumes, identification documents, and other documentation of McCoy's personal life. Included are a transcript of a 1984 interview of McCoy by Makoto Watanabe and material relating to her friend, Theodore Dreiser.

Correspondence focuses on her personal relationships with family, friends, and lovers, and general correspondence relating primarily to her work as a writer. McCoy's personal correspondence is valuable to researchers who are interested in her personal life, her struggles as a young writer, and the way in which her family, friends, lovers, mentors, and colleagues helped to shape her work and career. As documented in this correspondence, her life offers a glimpse into twentieth-century American social and political history, especially the radical leftist movements of the 1920s and 1930s. Researchers interested in the roots of feminism in the United States should also find these papers useful in documenting the life of a creative and productive woman who was successful in a field then almost entirely dominated by men. Correspondents of note include her husband Berkeley Tobey, lovers Geoffrey Eaton and Albert Robert, writers Ray Bradbury and Theodore Dreiser, and artists and architects, such as Dorothy Grotz, Craig Ellwood, A. Quincy Jones, Hans Hollein, and J. R. Davidson. General correspondence is primarily with researchers, professors, architects, publishers, and professional organizations.

Personal writings include McCoy's diaries, notebooks, and memoirs, and writings by others including friends, lovers, and colleagues. Also included are drafts of McCoy's fictional works, both published and unpublished, including short stories, teleplays, and novels.

The collection contains in-depth documentation of McCoy's pioneering study of the modernist work of twentieth-century architects in Southern California. The bulk of her papers consist of her writing files for books, exhibition catalogs, articles, and lectures on architecture. Because many of the architects about whom McCoy wrote were her contemporaries, she developed personal relationships with several of them through her research and writing. Her writing files include drafts, notes, research material, photographs, and correspondence. McCoy also traveled extensively, particularly in Italy and Mexico, and wrote about architecture, craft, and culture in those countries. Project files document McCoy's other activities related to architectural history, such preservation projects, juries, grants, the Dodge House Preservation Campaign and related film project, her work for the Society of Architectural Historians and the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), and her work at the UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Planning, compiling a slide library and cataloging the Richard Neutra's papers. McCoy also maintained architect files which may contain correspondence, notes, photographs, research material, interview transcripts, about architects and their works. Among these extensive records, the files documenting the careers of R. M. Schindler, Irving Gill, Richard Neutra, and Juan O'Gorman are particularly rich.

Printed material in this collection documents McCoy's career as well as her personal interests. Included are books, clippings, magazines, newsletters, press releases, as well as publications arranged by subject such as architecture, art, Italy, and Mexico. McCoy also collected literary and leftist publications. The small amount of artwork in this collection consists of artwork sent to her by friends, including a drawing of her by Esther Rollo and etchings by various artists including Thomas Worlidge.

There are personal photographs of family and friends and of McCoy at different times in her life, as well as photographs gathered during the course of her research on architecture. Found here are photographs of architects and their works, including a large number depicting the work of Gregory Ain, Luis Barragan, J. R. Davidson, Irving Gill, Bernard Maybeck, Juan O'Gorman, R. M. Schindler, and Raphael Soriano. Many of these photographs were taken by notable architectural photographers Julius Shulman and Marvin Rand. Also found are photographs of architecture designed for the Case Study House program of Arts & Architecture magazine; exhibition photographs, primarily for the exhibition "Ten Italian Architects" in 1967; and other research photographs primarily documenting architecture and craft in other countries and the history of architecture in California. This series also includes approximately 3,600 slides of architecture.

Audio and video recordings include a videocassette of McCoy's 80th birthday party and 55 taped interviews with architects, people associated with architectural projects, and artists.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 10 series:

Series 1: Biographical and Family Material, 1881-1989 (boxes 1, 48; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1896-1989 (boxes 1-6, 4.9 linear feet)

Series 3: Personal Writings, 1919-1989 (boxes 6-14; 8.1 linear feet)

Series 4: Architectural Writings, 1908-1990 (boxes 14-24, 42, 49, 50; 10.2 linear feet)

Series 5: Projects, circa 1953-1988 (boxes 24-26, 47, FC 53-56; 2.5 linear feet)

Series 6: Architect Files, 1912-1990 (boxes 26-28, 42; 2.2 linear feet)

Series 7: Printed Material, circa 1885-1990 (boxes 28-31, 42; 2.9 linear feet)

Series 8: Artwork, 1924-1967, undated (box 31; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 9: Photographs and Slides, circa 1876-1989 (boxes 31-38, 41-46, 51; 8.7 linear feet)

Series 10: Audio and Video Recordings, 1930-1984 (boxes 38-40, 47; 2.5 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Esther McCoy (1904-1989) is remembered best for her pioneering work as an architectural historian, critic, and proponent of Southern California modern architecture of the early to mid-twentieth century. Although her professional interests ranged from writing fiction to studying the folk architecture and crafts of Mexico, McCoy achieved her most notable success for her numerous articles, books, and exhibitions about Southern California architecture and the architects associated with the modernist movement.

Born in Arkansas in 1904, Esther McCoy grew up in Kansas and attended various schools in the Midwest. In 1926 she left the University of Michigan to launch a writing career in New York, where she moved in avant-garde literary circles and conducted research for Theodore Dreiser. She began writing fiction in New York and continued to write after moving to Los Angeles in 1932, working on short stories, novels, and screenplays. She published numerous short stories between 1929 and 1962, with works appearing in the New Yorker, Harper's Bazaar, and university quarterlies. Her short story, "The Cape," was reprinted in Best Short Stories of 1950. Many of the novels that she wrote from the mid-1960s through the 1980s were related thematically to architects and architecture.

During the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s, McCoy participated in the politically radical movements of the period and wrote for leftist publications. Her interest in the lowcost housing projects of modern architects was prompted by one of her articles about slums for Epic News. During World War II she entered a training program for engineering draftsmen at Douglas Aircraft and in 1944 was hired as an architectural draftsman for the architect R.M. Schindler. As she became increasingly interested in modern architecture and design, she combined her two major career interests and began to focus her energies on architectural research, writing, and criticism. Her first article on architecture, "Schindler: Space Architect," was published in 1945 in the journal Direction.

McCoy began writing about architecture in earnest in 1950 as a free-lance contributor to the Los Angeles Times. From then until her death in 1989, she wrote prolifically for Arts & Architecture magazine, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Architectural Record, L'Architectura, Zodiac (Italy), Progressive Architecture, Lotus (Italy), and Architectural Forum. In addition to her numerous articles, McCoy wrote several books on Southern California modern architecture and architects. Her first major work, Five California Architects, published in 1960, is now recognized as a classic work in modern architectural history. It promoted a serious study of modern architecture in Southern California and introduced to the world several leading California architects and their work: Bernard Maybeck, Irving Gill, Charles and Henry Greene, and R.M. Schindler. That same year, she published another important book focusing on the work of the California architect Richard Neutra. Other books by McCoy include Modern California Houses: Case Study Houses (1962), Craig Ellwood (1968), Vienna to Los Angeles: Two Journeys (1979), and The Second Generation (1984).

In addition to these books, McCoy organized and wrote catalogs for several significant exhibitions focusing on contemporary architects. Her first was the R.M. Schindler Retrospective, a 1954 exhibition at the Landau Art Gallery in Los Angeles. Her other exhibitions and accompanying catalogs include Roots of California Contemporary Architecture, 1956, Los Angeles Municipal Art Department; Felix Candela, 1957, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Irving Gill, 1958, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Juan O'Gorman, 1964, San Fernando Valley State College; and Ten Italian Architects, 1967, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Moreover, McCoy contributed numerous essays to other exhibition catalogs and publications, lectured at the University of Southern California, participated in preservation projects, organized tours for the Society of Architectural Historians, and contributed to a number of documentary films. Her energy and interests also led her to catalog and transcribe Richard Neutra's papers at the University of California Los Angeles Archives.

McCoy received national recognition from the American Institute of Architects for her seminal and prolific work in the field of Southern California modern architectural history and criticism. Her interests, however, were not exclusively bound to California. She traveled the world and was interested in both Italian and Mexican architecture as well as the folk art and crafts of Mexico and South America. She made five extended trips to Italy during the 1950s and 1960s, publishing regularly about the architecture there and curating the exhibition Ten Italian Architects. She was a contributing editor to two Italian journals, Zodiac and Lotus, and was awarded the Star of Order of Solidarity in 1960 by the Republic of Italy for her research and writing.

Esther McCoy died of emphysema on December 30, 1989, at the age of eighty-five. Her last contribution was an essay for the exhibition catalog Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study House. The show opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles one month before her death.

1904 -- Born November 18 in Horatio, Arkansas. Raised in Kansas.

1920 -- Attended preparatory school at Central College for Women, Lexington, Missouri.

1922-1925 -- College education: Baker University, Baldwin City, Kansas; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri; University of Michigan.

1924 -- Visited Theodore Dreiser in Michigan.

1926-1938 -- Began writing in New York City.

1926-1938 -- Researched and read for Theodore Dreiser.

1926-1938 -- Worked for editorial offices and publishers.

1926-1938 -- Traveled to write in Paris (1928), Key West, Florida (1930), and Los Angeles, California (1932-1935).

1938 -- Moved to Santa Monica, California.

1941 -- Married Berkeley Greene Tobey.

1942-1944 -- Employed as engineering draftsman at Douglas Aircraft.

1944-1947 -- Worked as architectural draftsman for R.M. Schindler.

1945 -- Began architectural writing career.

1950 -- Wrote script for film Architecture West.

1950 -- Joined editorial board of Arts & Architecture.

1950-1968 -- Worked as free-lance writer for the Los Angeles Times.

1951-1955 -- Traveled to, researched, and wrote about Mexico and Mexican art and architecture.

1954 -- R.M. Schindler Retrospective exhibition at the Landau Art Gallery, Los Angeles.

1956 -- Roots of California Contemporary Architecture exhibition, Los Angeles Municipal Art Department.

1957 -- Felix Candela exhibition, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

1958 -- Irving Gill exhibition, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Traveled to Italy.

1959-1968 -- Contributing editor to Italian periodicals Zodiac and Lotus.

1960 -- Five California Architects (New York: Reinhold).

1960 -- Richard Neutra (New York: G. Braziller).

1960 -- Awarded Star of Order of Solidarity by the Republic of Italy for reporting on arts and crafts in Italy.

1962 -- Death of Berkeley Greene Tobey.

1962 -- Modern California Houses: Case Study Houses (New York: Reinhold) (reprinted as Case Study Houses, Los Angeles: Hennessey and Ingalls, 1978).

1963 -- Resident Fellow at Huntington Hartford Foundation.

1964 -- Juan O'Gorman exhibition, San Fernando Valley State College, Northridge, Calif.

1965 -- Consultant for the California Arts Commission.

1965-1966 -- Wrote and produced the film Dodge House.

1965-1968 -- Lecturer at University of California at Los Angeles, School of Architecture and Urban Planning.

1966 -- Resident Fellow at MacDowell Colony, New Hampshire.

1967 -- Ten Italian Architects exhibition, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

1967 -- Honorary Associate of the Southern California Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

1967 -- Regents' Lecturer at University of California, Santa Barbara.

1968 -- Craig Ellwood (New York: Walker).

1968 -- Distinguished Service Citation from the California Council of AIA.

1969-1970 -- Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

1969-1989 -- Contributing editor of Progressive Architecture.

1971-1978 -- Graham Foundation Grants.

1974 -- Regents' Lecturer at the University of California,Santa Cruz.

1979 -- Vienna to Los Angeles: Two Journeys (Santa Monica, Calif.: Arts & Architecture Press).

1979 -- Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.

1981 -- Los Angeles Chapter Women's Architectural League Honorary Member.

1982 -- Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Modern and Contemporary Art Council Award for Distinguished Achievement.

1983 -- Home Sweet Home: The California Ranch House exhibition at California State University.

1984 -- The Second Generation (Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith Books).

1985 -- American Institute of Architects, Institute Honor.

1986 -- High Styles exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

1987 -- Vesta Award for outstanding scholarship.

1989 -- Award from the Historical Society of Southern California.

1989 -- Award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

1989 -- Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study House exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Died in Santa Monica, California, December 30.
Related Material:
Also in the Archives of American Art are eight sound cassettes of a transcribed interview with Esther McCoy conducted by Joseph Giovannini, June 8-November 14, 1987.
Provenance:
The collection was given to the Archives of American Art by Esther McCoy in 1986. Before her death in 1989, McCoy assisted in the organization and identification of the papers. Original pre-print film elements for Dodge House 1916 were donated to the Archives of American Art by the Academy Film Archive in 2018.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of audiovisual recordings without access copies requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Esther McCoy papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Occupation:
Art critics -- California  Search this
Topic:
Architecture, Modern -- 20th century -- Mexico  Search this
Architectural historians -- California  Search this
Architects -- Italy  Search this
Architecture, Domestic -- California  Search this
Authors -- California  Search this
Architecture, Modern -- 20th century -- California  Search this
Architecture, Modern -- 20th century -- Europe  Search this
Architects -- California  Search this
Feminism  Search this
Genre/Form:
Diaries
Etchings
Photographs
Sound recordings
Interviews
Video recordings
Slides (photographs)
Transcripts
Drawings
Memoirs
Citation:
Esther McCoy papers, circa 1876-1990, bulk 1938-1989. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mccoesth
See more items in:
Esther McCoy papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mccoesth
Online Media:

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